Can someone register a service mark using a town’s name then sue the town for using the same service mark?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can someone register a service mark using a town’s name then sue the town for using the same service mark?

Example: Town Name – Old Shawneetown, IL Service Mark: Old Shawneetown Street Rally Can the town be sued for taking over the event and still call it Old Shawneetown Street Rally since it is still in the town but registered to someone other than the town, or is the town automatically covered in the service mark since they registered the town name without permission?

Asked on July 16, 2011 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No. The names of towns such as "Old Shawneetown" and other similar names are names of specific locations and have been used by the town for years and cannot be taken away from it. There are decisions stating that a a geographic area or name cannot be trade or service marked as a registered name.

Under "trade mark law" there are lines of cases in this country where a person or company may have used a particular name for years but never registered it via a State law of Federal law. Even though there is no registration, that person or entity after years of use would have a common law right to use the name in the geographic are it had been used in for years even if someone else actually registered the fame under State or Federal law.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption