Colorado Rockies Can’t Have Rocktober Trademark……(Sorry guys)

cr2.jpgSports Illustrated reports the Colorado Rockies baseball team filed a trademark application with the USPTO seeking exclusive rights to their fans’ rallying cry “Rocktober.”

But there are three fatal problems with this claim.

First, as IP maven Ron Coleman points out in his excellent post, trademarks exist to allow entities to uniquely identify their products or services. The Rockies don’t have a “rocktober” product. It is a misuse of trademark protection to claim a cultural catch phrase, which is not in fact used in commerce. When firms to lay claim to popular speech, popular speech is inevitably diminished.

Second, the expression Rocktober was in common use long before the Rockies were in the baseball business. A quick scan of Google reveals a 1984 horror film, Rocktober Blood. And Rocktober concerts, such of those produced by Boston radio station WBCN, were commercial uses of the term, again since before the Rockies were in business.

And third, isn’t the real problem here that the team is acting like business at the wrong moment? Someone in The Rockies….not the cultural thrill that fans love, but folks over in the Rockies’ business office, attempted to claim a popular term associated with the team. 

The men of team are clearly honored to be associated with the phrase “Rocktober”….and the business called the Rockies should be too, without claiming the honor as a new permanent asset.

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