So, is anyone ready for “Squid Game”-branded cookie cutters?

In recent weeks, Netflix has moved to protect the brand of its hit series in a way that would help it sell a wide range of themed merchandise in countries across the globe.

In the past weeks, the company has filed “Squid Game” trademark applications in more than two dozen locales, including Argentina, Canada, the European Union, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea and the USA.

If the applications are approved, Netflix will obtain exclusive rights in the trademark there, including for the kind of merchandising effort that has long been an important element of any blockbuster’s roll out.

Trademarks distinguish enterprises and individuals from their competitors, are essential to act against counterfeiters and create a recognizable brand to attract customers.

As part of its applications, Netflix has selected a wide array of goods and services on which the logo or trademark could potentially be used.

Here’s the trademark image from a Netflix Studios LLC application filed October 15, 2021 in the Philippines:

(Image credit: NETFLIX)

For the Philippines, as one example, Netflix has chosen to file for trademark registration in relation to goods and services out of seven among the 45 classes of the so-called “Nice Classification” – a classification system originally established at WIPO in 1957 and updated regularly to evolve with the times by WIPO’s member states.

It sounds complicated, but it actually simplifies matters: This classification system helps businesses around the world describe their products and services in a similar fashion, providing clarity and comparability for everyone.

Among the potential uses listed in the Philippines application categories are many you would expect – downloadable computer games, mouse pads, messenger bags - and others that are included with them in a classification, but perhaps not as obviously relevant - think oven mitts, baby carriers, toy whistles and tea cozies.

This may seem odd, but in order to avoid conflicts with other trademarks, brand owners try to find a balance. They seek to avoid casting the net too wide - claiming protection for too wide a range of goods and services, which may end up being costly and complicate the protection process - or too narrow, which this may prevent them from further developing the trademark later on. That’s why it is necessary to customize the goods and services indicated in the application to the chosen markets.

Many of the items listed in the applications may not make it into the homes of “Squid Game” lovers in the coming months – but the trademark applications underline the importance of trademarks and branding to enterprises of all sizes as they seek to grow their businesses.

In fact, enterprises and individuals filed some 11.5 million trademark applications around the world in 2019, the last year for which global data exists.

There were an estimated 58.2 million active trademark registrations worldwide in 2019 – up 15.2% on 2018, with 25.2 million in China alone, followed by 2.8 million in the U.S., and 2 million in India.

So, trademarks are critical tools for businesses everywhere. In merchandising, the logo is the link between the product and the original character or feature environment – say a celebrity or film or television series.

Among the designated products in Netflix applications that might one day be enticing for fans: business card holders, Halloween and masquerade costumes, cookie cutters that could shape “dalgona” candy.