Language consultant Englund Hjalmarsson made headlines in Sweden this week after she reported the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (Patent- och registreringsverket, PRV) to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (Justitieombudsmannen – JO).
The bamboozling letter from the PRV came in response to an application to register the word Grammatikdagen (“Grammar Day”) – to which the consultant expected a simple yes or no answer.
“But instead, we got an injunction that we didn’t understand,” she told the Metro newspaper, adding that neither she nor her team could understand much of the letter at all.
Instead of accepting or denying the application, the registration office sent a 450-word essay in response.
“For a trademark to be registered, it is required under Chapter 2 and 5 of the trademark laws that the brand is distinctive. This means that the brand is to be a sign of a trader’s goods or services and is not perceived as being descriptive of a certain type of goods or services. A mark must not restrict competitors’ rights to use a general term or words to promote their services or products,” the office wrote, in what appeared to be a rejection letter.
Englund Hjalmarsson was not amused.
“We are language experts and if even we can’t understand what the PRV wrote, then we can decide that it is too tricky,” she said.
She said that more authorities in Sweden should be reported for their abuse of the Swedish language.
“We need to kick off a debate about the language of authorities,” she told Metro.