TTAB Rejects Argument that MARATHON MONDAY Mark Creates a False Suggestion of Connection with the Boston Marathon Organizer

On October 26, 2015, the TTAB found that the mark MARATHON MONDAY does not falsely suggest a connection with the Boston Athletic Association, organizer of the Boston Marathon.

The applicant applied to register the mark MARATHON MONDAY for various clothing products. The Association, which owns two registrations for the mark BOSTON MARATHON, opposed the application under Section 2(a), alleging that MARATHON MONDAY falsely suggests a connection with the Association. To prevail on its Section 2(a) claim, the Association needed to establish (1) that MARATHON MONDAY is a close approximation of the Association’s name or identity, and (2) that MARATHON MONDAY would be recognized as such by purchasers of the Association’s goods, because it points uniquely and unmistakably to the Association. The Board found the Association’s arguments and evidence unpersuasive.

To show that MARATHON MONDAY is a close approximation of the Association, the Association argued that the name BOSTON MARATHON identifies the Association and that BOSTON MARATHON and MARATHON MONDAY are interchangeable. While the Board agreed that the name BOSTON MARATHON has become so well known that it is associated with the Association, it found the connection between MARATHON MONDAY and the Association too tenuous. Even assuming that consumers are generally aware that the Boston Marathon is annually held on the third Monday in April, the Association failed to show that MARATHON MONDAY is a recognized name or identity of the Association.

The Association also failed to show that MARATHON MONDAY points uniquely and unmistakably to the Association. The Board was particularly persuaded by the applicant’s evidence that a number of third parties use “Marathon Monday” to refer to marathons besides the Boston Marathon.

The case is Boston Athletic Association v. Velocity, LLC, Opp. No. 91202562 (Oct. 26, 2015).

 

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