Following the Boston Marathon bombing, two parties attempted to register a trademark for the motto “Boston Strong”. Although the intentions behind the filings may not be motivated by personal gain, this brought up the discussion of whether this phrase can be registered.
Josh Gerben was quoted by the Huffington Post regarding the chances of the motto being protected with a trademark:
The words “Boston Strong” belong in the public domain […] because they’ve been so widely circulated and cannot be associated with any particular company or individual. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government wouldn’t grant anyone the exclusive rights to the phrase 9/11.
“‘Boston Strong’ cannot function as a trademark,”
Source: Dicker, R. “‘Boston Strong’ Trademark Race Begins; Two File Just Days After Boston Marathon Bombing”. Huffington Post. April 22 2013.