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Intellectual Property Insights from Fishman Stewart PLLC
Newsletter – Volume 21, Issue 18

A Dose of Branding: Introducing Comirnaty, Spikevax and Vaxzevria

By Andrea J. Calvert

On August 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved what was commonly referred as the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. With FDA approval, marketing agency the Brand Institute created a brand name for the vaccine, and presented us with a new word to add to our vocabularies: “Comirnaty”.

Breaking it down, the prefix “co” stands for COVID-19, “mirna” stands for mRNA (the snippets of genetic code that tell cells to build “spike protein”), and “–ty” is a nod to “community” and “immunity.” Despite the various jabs across the Internet poking fun at what’s been called an awkward-to-pronounce name, the FDA announced that the correct pronunciation of the brand is “koe-mir’-na-tee” – which is arguably snappier than BNT162b2, the research name for the vaccine when it was initially studied.

The name has been in the works for quite some time, as a trademark application for COMIRNATY was first filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 1, 2020. That same day, Pfizer filed additional applications for what were likely other front-runners, including RNAXCOVI (App. No. 88/942,289); KOVIMERNA (App. No. 88/942,300) and COVUITY (App. No. 88/942,313).

Meanwhile, while Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is still waiting on full approval from the FDA, the Brand Institute once again assisted in naming this vaccine, and has dubbed it Spikevax, which is currently its European brand name. “Spikevax” directly references the spiky structure of COVID-19, combined with “vax” for vaccines. While the U.S. trademark application for SPIKEVAX (App. No. 90/247,367) was filed last year on October 11, 2020, Moderna filed for additional options around the same time, such as SPYKEVAX (App. No. 90/211,608), COVIDVAX (App. No. 88/857,477), and even WUHAN VAX (App. No. 88/774,489) and WUHAN CORONA VAX (App. No. 88/774,522) (the latter two have since been abandoned).

Finally, AstraZeneca is taking steps to ensure that its own vaccine, Vaxzevria, has international brand recognition. For example, in Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is part of the Department of Health, recently approved AstraZeneca’s submission to change the name of its COVID-19 vaccine from “COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca” to Vaxzevria. The name is now consistent with that used overseas, including in the EU and in Canada, and will help to ensure that those who have received the vaccine in Australia can travel internationally when borders open, and will facilitate international recognition.

Published September 3, 2021

Fishman Stewart announces 2021 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Fishman Stewart is pleased to announce that nine firm attorneys have been named to the 2021 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process with peer nominations, evaluations and independent research to determine who is awarded the Super Lawyers designation.

The following Fishman Stewart attorneys have received Michigan Super Lawyers honors for 2021.


In addition, two Fishman Stewart attorneys were named Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars—a designation that represents no more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state. To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented, multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer review. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. For more information, go to