You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Procter & Gamble Wants to Trademark WTF and LOL The company isn't the first to try and own something that is publicly and widely used.

By Nina Zipkin

entrepreneur daily
Cristina Arias | Getty Images

To paraphrase Amy Poehler in the 2004 classic Mean Girls, Procter & Gamble doesn't want to just make regular cleaning products, it wants to make cool cleaning products.

It seems that in a move to appeal to a younger demographic, the parent company of brands including Febreze and Tide filed for trademarks for the use of internet favorite acronyms LOL, FML, NDB and WTF on household items such as liquid soap and dishwashing detergent.

The application is still in consideration and apparently this line of products isn't in the offing yet. While it might seem odd that a company would try and trademark words, colors or even sounds that are just out in the ether for everyone to use, P&G is far from the first entity to do so.

Last year, General Mills attempted and failed to trademark the use of the color yellow for the Cheerios box. In 1994, Harley Davidson also wasn't successful when it tried to trademark the sound of the motorcycle's engine revving.

Related: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Trademarks

There are some trademark attempts that are more successful but not without some fancy legal footwork. In 2010, Facebook, for example, was allowed to trademark the word "face," and the following year, Twitter was able to extract the word "tweet" from a third-party advertising platform that had beaten it to the punch.

On the celebrity business front, Kylie Jenner last year filed a trademark of her first name, which resulted in a legal kerfuffle with pop star Kylie Minogue for obvious reasons. In 2015, Taylor Swift put forth a successful trademark application to own lyrics including "This sick beat," "party like it's 1989" and "cause we never go out of style. Special mention goes to Paris Hilton. The heiress successfully trademarked her ubiquitous phrase "that's hot," even winning a lawsuit against Hallmark. Which goes to show the power of a well-crafted brand.

Whether the U.S. Patent Office deems P&G's request NBD or WTF remains to be seen, but if the company can make the case that it's a reasonable and integral part of its brand strategy, maybe it has a shot.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

Yes, You Can Buy a Foldable Tiny Home on Amazon — And Now It's Selling for Less Than $12,000

The waterproof and flameproof house was listed around $35,000 a few months ago.

Starting a Business

4 Common Mistakes That Will Spell Doom Your Ecommerce Business

It's hard to spot a success story before it happens, yet it's easy to tell if a business will struggle. With that in mind, here are the four most common mistakes people make that you should avoid when starting an ecommerce business.

Money & Finance

4 Things to Know About Credit Financing Your Business Following the 'Fed Pivot'

With cheap money behind us, you'll want to rethink how you finance your business

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.