Which Trademarks Help Boost Your Immunity Against Disease?

Gokcen Uzer Cengelci / Lisa Wright,

Are you a tomato or a hamburger? It has long been known that you are what you eat and that our bodies contain similar nutrients to the products that we consume. And, nutrition has long been closely linked to immunity. People who are more poorly nourished are at a greater risk of infections and viruses and so it is crucial for us all to look after our diet and level of nutrition during the ongoing global human pandemic to help to protect against disease.

Public health advice reminds us that it is important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle change other than proper social distancing and good hygiene practices, like consistent hand washing and courtesy coughing into your elbow, can protect you from COVID-19.

However, in purchasing and consuming natural supplements, you can take some comfort and feel like you are proactively supporting your health in these uncertain times. And, it is important to recognize that many people may not have easy access to nutritious foods (for example due to governmental lockdowns) and could therefore have a greater need for such supplements at this time.

Healthy sales of supplements

There have been real signs that individuals are increasing their consumption of minerals and vitamins to try to protect their health during the pandemic. Here are 5 types of dietary supplements which help to boost your immunity and have seen sales soar this year! 

  • Multivitamins - a popular way to help stay healthy if your diet is poor
  • Vitamin C - helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes (which help protect the body against infection)
  • Zinc - helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses
  • Elderberry - an immune-health botanical ingredient 
  • Vitamin D - known to enhance the function of immune cells, including T-cells and macrophages, that protect your body against pathogens

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have recently called on the Irish government to amend official recommendations for vitamin D supplements based on the results of a study published in the Irish Medical Journal in May 2020. Data suggests that optimizing levels of vitamin D can reduce serious COVID-19 complications. 

According to Joan Driggs, VP of Thought Leadership and Content for IRI, and online publication Nutritional Outlook, sales of dietary supplements in the United States have skyrocketed. The adult multivitamin market was valued at $1.6 billion in 2019. Sales had already grown by 1% in 2019 but during a one-week period ending March 8th, 2020 they accelerated again by some 23%. Elderberry sales during the same one-week period were up by an eye-watering 415%. Impressive growth was also experienced by zinc in the same week, which saw sales increase by a very healthy 255%. And, the so-called “sunshine vitamin” - vitamin D - also saw sales growth with a boost of 22%.

Brand trust

When making the decision to purchase a particular brand of food supplement or vitamin, consumers are often drawn towards brands that are quality assured by their trademarks and that they therefore trust. 

Some extreme behavior around the hoarding of popular items has been seen in the Philippines, as reported in a recent Nutra Ingredients Asia online article: “COVID-19 Vitamin Surge: Panic Buying of Popular Brands in Philippines Raises Inventory Fears.” Author Tingmin Koe writes: “Philippines consumers and pharmacies have been hoarding vitamins, with sales of such items skyrocketing by 10 times since Luzon – the country’s most populous island and where the capital Manila sits went into lockdown”.

An overview of vaccine trademarks and their owners

We took a look into Class 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies) in our new eBook “An Overview of Vaccine Trademarks and Their Owners” and examined the trademark portfolios of the 10 leading trademark owners.  

In our report, we focus our attention on vaccine trademarks and their owners. We analyze and examine Nice Class 5, all trademarks related to vaccines, COVID-19 related trademarks, and the top trademark filers across 180 registries and get answers to the following five big questions: 

  • Who are the biggest trademark filers?
  • Where they are filing (top registries)?
  • What are they filing?
  • What are the top classes for vaccines?
  • Who is filing COVID trademarks?

Download your copy!

For this article, we drilled down further in our data using TrademarkNow’s business intelligence tool, ExaMatch, to see which of the top 10 trademark owners are active in Class 5 - having the most live (pending and valid) trademarks, containing 2 product descriptions “dietary supplements” and “vitamins” in their trademark portfolios.

Dietary supplements and vitamins trademark owners

1. Novartis

Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis AG (Novartis International AG) is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world today. Its trademark filings peaked in 2013. 

As of today, according to ExaMatch, the owner has more than 510 trademarks containing the product description “dietary supplements” and just over 370 trademarks with the product description “vitamins.”

Top registries are Switzerland IPI, Nigeria NCC, and Mexico IMPO. Brands include NUTRISAN (multivitamins) and ICAPS (eye vitamin and mineral supplement).

2. Johnson & Johnson

The American multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest healthcare players in the world. To date the company has applied for the most marks in 2011 - filing a total of almost 6 thousand trademarks in that year.

J&J has more than 145 trademarks with product descriptions “dietary supplements” and in excess of 450 trademarks having “vitamins” in their product descriptions at the time of writing. 

Top registries are Saudi Arabia MCI, Brazil INPI and Australia IPAU. Popular brands include Lactaid Fast Act Chewable Vanilla Twist Flavor.

3. Merck, Sharp & Dohme

American multinational Merck Sharp & Dohme, Corp (a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc) operates as a biopharmaceutical research company, specializing in vaccines, medicines, and animal health products. It filed a whopping 1700 trademarks in 2014, with over 80% of all its trademarks filed in Nice Class 5.

At the time of writing, the owner has just over 20 trademarks containing the product description “dietary supplements'' and almost 30 trademarks with the product description “vitamins”. 

Top registries are Canada CIPO, Saudi Arabia MCI and European Union EUIPO. Popular brands include Bion3 (vitamin D and zinc) and Cebion (vitamin C drops).

In conclusion

No dietary supplements can contain all of the benefits that good foods provide. However, supplementing a healthy, balanced diet with minerals and vitamins is a good way of boosting your natural immunity against disease. It is one way that you can help to control and safeguard your health at this time. 

Pharma companies today are working around the clock to find a vaccine against COVID-19. And, the world’s biggest coronavirus vaccine study has just begun, a U.S. trial that will include 30,000 people to see if the shots developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna really work. 

While we wait for a vaccine we all have an opportunity to boost our immune systems and  strengthen our defenses against disease, thanks to access to quality pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and vitamins.

Digital-first brand intelligence

If you are developing a new brand starting with a robust online knockout or preliminary trademark search will instantly give you strong brand candidates to take forward to trademark clearance. 

You will discover if your preferred brand name is available and get your results as you type - bringing your trademark screening process into the digital age! 

So you can spend your time on the brand names that matter and not on the ones that don’t.

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By Gokcen Uzer Cengelci / Lisa Wright
Gokcen Uzer Cengelci, Trademark Counsel at TrademarkNow, worked as a trademark attorney for over 12 years in top-tier trademark law firms where she specialized in opposition procedures and trademark portfolio management strategies. She regularly publishes articles on trademark law and has a deep interest in the role of legal tech in IP. Lisa Wright, Content Writer at TrademarkNow is a graduate of the University of Law. She researches and publishes books, articles, and webinars on global IP law and trademark activity.

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