This week marks 1 year since the marathon bombings in Boston. Within 48 hours of those horrible events, people filed trademark applications. As I said at the time:
A mere 48 hours following the tragic events at last Monday’s Boston Marathon, two different applicants filed to protect the phrase BOSTON STRONG with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These efforts to control use of the phrase in connection with clothing (a) would be virtually impossible to enforce even if granted because their use is likely to be ornamental and is not unique, and (b) are [in my opinion] deplorable. The phrase has a community origin for a positive cause to show Boston’s pride and resilience. Many others are already selling such shirts to raise money to benefit the victims, such as gamedayboston.com which is donating one hundred percent of the proceeds from its “Boston Strong” design to The One Fund. The MBTA is displaying “Boston Strong” messages today on its buses.
Any effort to try to stop others from promoting the same BOSTON STRONG message is appalling. I would encourage Kerim Senkal and Born Into It, Inc. to immediately abandon these applications and to indicate that they will not attempt to stop anyone else from using the phrase for charitable or other causes.
Those two applications have since been abandoned. But others were also filed. Three of the filed applications have not yet been abandoned, but they have been refused registration by the USPTO for failing to function as trademarks.