Use of Mark "BLUE TURF" on Blog Suffices as Service Mark Specimen for Sports Entertainment Services, Says TTAB, Unconvincingly
As an amateur blogger, maybe I should "like" this decision, but I don't. The Board reversed a refusal to register the word mark BLUE TURF for "entertainment services, namely, the presentation of intercollegiate sporting events and sports exhibitions," finding the blog page shown immediately to be an acceptable specimen of use for the mark. In re Boise State University, Serial No. 77574816 (February 18, 2011) [not precedential].
The Examining Attorney did not dispute that the appearance of the term BLUE TURF BLOG was a technical use of the mark BLUE TURF. According to the Board, "[t]he generic term BLOG is not essential to the commercial impression conveyed by the term BLUE TURF." [I don't agree. I don't think one should ignore the word BLOG. Why would an ordinary "consumer" think that this was a use of the mark BLUE TURF? Isn't it a use of the mark BLUE TURF BLOG for informational services? - ed.]
The Examining Attorney did, however, maintain that there is "no direct association between the football team and the words BLUE TURF, arguing that BLUE TURF as used on this specimen only identifies a 'blog' or online journal, a service that is totally different from the service of presenting intercollegiate sporting events." [I agree: BLUE TURF BLOG refers to a blog, not a football team - ed.] The Board disagreed:
The purpose of applicant's blog, at least as it appears on these specimens, is to provide continuing updates on game day preparations and to report on pre-game highlights and activities. The blog is produced on the University's website, it is maintained and hosted by the University, and moreover, it is authored by the University "staff." Although the "blog" is not an advertisement in the traditional sense, it nonetheless is clearly used by the University as a marketing device, that is, as a means to generate interest in and to promote and market upcoming sporting events conducted by the University. We find that the specimen shows use of applicant's mark to identify the services specified in the application.
And so the Board reversed the refusal.
TTABlog comment: An ugly decision, and an uglier football field.
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2011.