Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ohio State Files Trademark Application for Black, White, and Red Stripe

Ohio State University added another application to its ever expanding federal trademark portfolio on January 19th.  On that date, the university filed a federal trademark application for the stripe seen below. The mark is described as "a stripe design containing distinct bands of the colors black, white, and red."
The application covers a variety of clothing items in Class 25, replica and collector football helmets in Class 28, and entertainment services related to sporting events, courses in sports and fitness instruction, and a website relating to sports in Class 41.
The university filed the application on an in-use basis, with dates of first use in commerce ranging from 1966 (sporting events) to 1993 (football helmets).

This is not the first time the Ohio State University filed trademark applications related to the school's colors.  In February 2016, I blogged about a trademark application for a jersey design the school filed and how it had claimed acquired distinctiveness in designs in the past to successfully register them as trademarks.

The particular application for the jersey I blogged about last year has since been abandoned, however. In that case, the Trademark Office issued an Office action in which it refused registration because "the applied-for color mark, consisting of one or more colors used on some or all of the surfaces of a product or product packaging, is not inherently descriptive" and thus not entitled to registration without a showing of acquired distinctiveness. OSU did not respond (it did, however, file another application for a similar jersey in March 2016, which did register after successfully showing acquired distinctiveness). It is possible OSU may face a similar Office action for the stripe above. We will find out in approximately three months when it is assigned to an Examining Attorney.