Following the Boston Marathon bombing, two parties attempted to register a trademark for “Boston Strong.” Josh Gerben explains why the USPTO will refuse the trademark applications and that the applicants simply wasted the $325 application fee. The bottom line is that ‘Boston Strong’ could not function as a trademark because it became incapable of identifying a single source of goods and/or services.
But Josh Gerben, a Washington, D.C., trademark attorney, said the applicants were wasting the $325 fee. The words “Boston Strong” belong in the public domain, he told HuffPost, 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, Gerben explained.
“Boston Strong,” now a worldwide meme and logo for many T-shirt makers, was even placed on Fenway Park’s “Green Monster” wall.
“ ‘Boston Strong’ cannot function as a trademark,” Gerben said.