Fross Zelnick partner Allison Strickland Ricketts spoke to Law360 about a refusal by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board with respect to the registration of an “unofficial” seal to market park services by the local government of Orange County, California.
Under Section 2(b) of the Lanham Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cannot grant registration of “the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any state or municipality.” The TTAB found that the mark had been functioning as an insignia on websites and signage for government functions and facilities, while attorneys for the county argued that the mark was not an insignia under the statute because it was not an “official” seal.
Ricketts remarked that the case seemed to have been a “battle of dictionary definitions” of the statutory terms “insignia” and “municipality.”
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