Masters' Marks II: The Green Jacket

It is Masters time again. See my post from last year if you think that this has something to do with graduate degrees. Last year, I listed a number of marks of the Masters Tournament, including the Green Jacket. Hard core trademark types will be interested to learn that last December, Augusta National, Inc. filed two applications to register GREEN JACKET as a trademark in connection with a variety of goods and services. One application covers "entertainment services, namely, a championship presentation ceremony at the conclusion of a sporting event" in Class 41. The other application covers goods and services in five other classes, including things like games, clothing, and broadcasting and hospitality services. Interestingly, it does not appear that Augusta National has applied to register a green sports coat as a non-traditional trademark for any of these goods or services. For trademark geeks, this may be as interesting to watch as the tournament itself. Both applications have been refused on descriptiveness grounds, and one of the applications has been refused as likely to be confused with two prior registrations for GREENJACKETS owned by the Augusta GreenJackets, a Class A minor league baseball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Here is the GreenJackets logo: Note the Masters-looking green jacket and the golf clubs below the text. One would think that the baseball team cleared both the name and the mark with Augusta National, maybe even licensed it, but you never know. There are other prior applications and registrations for GREEN JACKET marks, some owned by other individuals or entities based in Augusta, Georgia, and others being golf-related. (I assume that Augusta National has general priority in the GREEN JACKET trademark.) Also, here is the specimen filed with one of the applications: To my mind, it is the jacket more than the words that is the dominant trademark here. It is better late than never that Augusta is pursuing federal registration of its GREEN JACKET word marks, but the tardiness to the Trademark Office has spawned some undergrowth that may need to be cleared out. Augusta National should also pursue registration of the configuration of the green sports coat as a trademark for comprehensive protection of this valuable mark.

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