Augusta National filed a trademark application in February 2019 for an actual green jacket. Despite already owning trademark registrations on the phrase “green jacket,” Augusta National had not yet applied for the actual jacket itself. When making a trademark filing on a trade dress such as this, you need to submit a technical drawing. On the drawing they submitted, you can see dotted black lines outlining the shape of the jacket, but not claiming it as part of the trademark filing. The only three items they’re claiming is the idea of a green jacket with gold buttons and a circular patch on the upper left-hand side over the chest. So, those are the three items that are being claimed in this particular filing.
On April 12th, 2019 the USPTO issued an Office Action, initially refusing the trademark application for these items because of various issues.
1. The government said that this is a non-distinct product design because it’s just a green jacket. In order to be accepted, Augusta National would have to prove that the green jacket has some sort of secondary meaning in the industry. I think that’s going to be extremely easy to show here, so they should be able to overcome this portion of the refusal very easily.
2. The USPTO has also stated that the drawing includes functional elements. Mainly, they’re saying that the buttons here are functional and that they don’t think that the idea of a button can be protected. Still, I think that the gold button in the context of the green jacket could be protected.
3. There is an issue with the specimen that is easily fixable.
4. Finally, there are issues with the wording in the application, which is, again, easily fixable.
Augusta National will now have six months to respond to the USPTO.