Trademarks: hole in the wall

Seeing as we have been talking about trademarks...

Back in June, I wrote on this blog about the number of different terms there are for ATMs. One of the ones I mentioned was 'hole in the wall' - and I've just found out that 'hole in the wall' is a trademark of Barclays Bank. Or rather, 'Hole in the Wall' as Barclays would have it.

Interestingly, 'hole in the wall' is listed in the OED – but as 'informal, British', not as a trademark. I wonder when Barclays trademarked it? The bank only started consistently using the term 'hole in the wall' instead of 'ATM' last year – but then it did install the world's first 'hole in the wall', in Enfield, North London, 40 years ago.

4 comments:

Gingerous Humerous Maximus said...

This is one of those phrases that happens to annoy me. Since its not really a "Hole in the wall", if it was there would be nothing on the other side and you could put your hand straight through (which would nice if the money were still there).

Gareth said...

This happened last year. Barclays made quite a fuss about it internally, but I'm not sure the public really noticed. They seem to be going through a "touchy-feely" phase with their branding at the moment, with phrases like "Through This Door Walk The Nicest People In The World" on the outside of their branches and so on. It's all faintly embarrassing really.

I also find the phrase "Hole In The Wall" to be very irritating, simply because I'd never, ever heard it used in this context before. The thing on the High Street you get money out of is either a cashpoint, a cash machine or an ATM. Not a Hole in the Sodding Wall. Is it a Northern thing perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Actually Barclays haven't trademarked "Hole in the Wall" - they were refused that trademark (and rightly so, given the phrase is in common use around the world). Instead they trademarked "Barclays Hole in the Wall". They're being a bit sneaky about the selective way they use the first word though, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

i used this term in conversation to indicate where i'd be for meeting or was about to pop to - cautious re overheard - i'd already had large amount of cash and cards stolen as entire case was stolen from a store while xmas shopping = suggestion was that i'd been observed and followed from the atm! useful phrase no longer