Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trademark for New Home of Atlanta Braves Filed

Major League Baseball® hosted the 2015 All-Star Game® in my city of Cincinnati last night, so in honor of that event today's post is baseball themed.

On July 9th, SunTrust Banks, Inc. filed a trademark application for SUNTRUST PARK as it relates to "[s]tadium facility services, namely, providing stadium facilities for the presentation of entertainment events, namely, sports events, musical concerts and variety shows[.]" This application seeks legal protection for the name of the Atlanta Braves' new stadium, which is currently under construction (and looks pretty cool). The Braves are set to start playing in this stadium in 2017. 

Interestingly, despite the stadium being under construction and not yet open, SunTrust Banks filed this trademark under a 1(a) basis, meaning it claims to be using this mark in commerce already. The date of first use is listed as September 16, 2014.

Section 45 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1127, states that a service mark is used in commerce when "it is used or displayed in the sale or advertising of services and the services are rendered in commerce..." Are the services listed in SunTrust Banks' application being rendered here? 

Section 1301.03(a) of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure provides examples of when a service mark is being used in commerce and generally states that an announcement of a future service is not sufficient to constitute use of the mark in commerce. For example, in In re Cedar Point, Inc., 220 USPQ 533 (TTAB 1983) the TTAB held that the advertising of a marine entertainment park, which was not yet open, was not a valid basis for registration.

What do you think? Will SunTrust Banks need to amend this application to an "intent to use" basis until the new stadium is finished?

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