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Sunday, 14 May 2006


The USPTO has granted Huntington Beach, California, a trade mark for the term SURF CITY USA for ads, on beach bags, hats and other beachwear, according to The Mercury News. Two towns, Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz, have been engaged in a sometimes musical battle over the term. Santa Cruz has hit back with an application to register OFFICIAL SURF CITY USA and there has also been talk on an application to the Californian legislature for official recognition of that term. The president of the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitor's Bureau has said that this is not necessary, since other towns and businesses are free to use the term SURF CITY without the addition of USA.

The IPKat, with his European trade mark sensibilities, finds this a bit strange. If the term is free for all to use without the addition of USA, how can a more precise geographical descriptor suddenly save it from descriptiveness/lack of distinctiveness concerns?

1 comment:

Surf City Militia said...

The name has acquired secondary meaning as a trademark of the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau. The rationale is no different than what makes "Coca-Cola" different from plain Cola.

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