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Watching the U.S. Open golf championship last weekend, I got to thinking: is “Arnold Palmer” generic for beverage that is half iced tea, half lemonade? I don’t know.  I have hear many people order “Arnold Palmers” in restaurants and the servers know just what they want – half iced tea, half lemonade. Is anyone infringing a trademark in that situation?  

The Arnold Palmer signature is registered for beverages. U.S.  Reg. No. 2161853.  Mr. Palmer appears to have licensed the name (or the logo?) to Arizona Beverage Company:

Arizona's "Arnold Palmer" drink

The drink has its own Wikipedia page here.

If another party uses the name, but not the signature, to identify a beverage are they infringing the mark? How strong is the mark if it has been called an “Arnold Palmer” by many for years and years? Is it a mark at all?  I don’t have the answers to these complicated questions, but I like raising them. I would love your comments – is the mark enforceable?

4 Responses
  1. Aaron says:

    Absolutely generic for the combo of ice tea and lemonade. I’ve been ordering them for 20 years. Long prior to DOFU in reg. Interesting the ID just says “flavored tea.”

  2. Ron Coleman says:

    I am going to do a whole writeup on the Arnold Palmer branding phenomenon one of these days, Erik! Good pickup on this.

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