Trademark Musings

Thoughts on trademark issues by Laura Winston

Remember to use TM when remembering the Alamo™

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a nonprofit corporation, filed  an application to register the trademark THE ALAMO.  The application is for “museum services, namely, exhibiting to the public a historical site”.   The application claims a date of first use of January 26, 1905, and claims that the mark has “acquired distinctiveness” — that is, that when people hear “The Alamo”, they associate it with “museum services, namely, exhibiting to the public a historical site”.  That may well be true — when I hear “Alamo” I think of the famous site in Texas unless I’m renting a car —  but does that mean that a nonprofit group can own a trademark for this historical site?  The state of Texas is  taking extra time to consider that very question, having filed an extension of time to oppose the Daughters’ application.

I  note that the trademark application was initially refused based on the view that it merely describes the services.  I don’t know why it wasn’t refused based on geographic descriptiveness — a trademark is regarded as geographically descriptive if consumers will think that the goods or services emanate from the place named in the trademark.  An example would be WALL STREET for financial services.   Here, the services ARE the place, which seems about as geographically descriptive as it gets.

April 28, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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