Trademark Law

Can 'Boston Strong' be trademarked? Two applicants hope the answer is yes

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Two applicants are seeking to trademark the “Boston Strong” motto that became a popular rallying cry after the Boston Marathon bombings.

A Massachusetts T-shirt company called Born Into It and an individual, Kerim Senkal, of Allston, Mass., sought trademark rights in registrations filed on April 17, the Huffington Post reports. Both seek to use the phrase on clothes and accessories.

Born Into It is already selling T-shirts with the phrase. The company’s owner, Ryan Gormady, told the Huffington Post he filed the application because he was concerned someone outside the Boston area would try to enforce the trademark. “Our interest isn’t to police the mark,” he said. “It’s more to indemnify and protect ourselves and our colleagues and partners.”

Washington, D.C., trademark lawyer Josh Gerben told the publication that the applications will not be successful. “Boston Strong” is so widely used that the phrase is in the public domain and it cannot function as a trademark, he said.

Additional coverage:

Marketplace Business: “Can you trademark a rallying cry like ‘Boston Strong’?”

National Law Journal: “Post-Bombing, Two Apply for ‘Boston Strong’ Mark”

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