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Specsavers looks to trademark 'should've' in attempt to protect its long running ad tagline


The success of Specsavers’ long running advertising tagline, ‘should’ve gone to Specsavers’ has been so successful that it’s seeped into popular culture and now the company is looking to protect its prized marketing gauntlet with a trademark on the phrase ‘should’ve”.

The high street optician filled a trademark application with the UK Intellectual Property Office seeking to establish Specsavers’ rights to the use of the terms “should’ve” and “shouldve [sic]” in a wide range of commercial spheres.

Trademark lawyers have cast doubts on the likelihood of the application being successful though given the commonality of the expression.

London patent attorney, Martin MacLean, told the Times that he was “surprised” that Specsavers was attempting to trademark “should’ve” without it being part of a longer phrase.

Brian Conroy, a Dublin-based solicitor who deals with trademark applications, said: “In my experience, this is what drives non-legal people mad.”

Emma Reeve, a trademark specialist with Mathys & Squire, said trademark applications with “completely distinctive” slogans such as Nike’s ‘Just do it’ were far more likely to be approved. She added: “It would be very difficult to monopolise ‘should’ve’.”

The campaign line has been hugely successful for the company, and has been boosted with ads featuring stars such as John Cleese in its ads, and the trademark attempt confirms that Specsavers is intent on continuing to use the slogan for some time to come.

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