Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing

No Surrender Boys!

There’s an awesome dust up down in San Antonio over the ownership of the trademark THE ALAMO. You sort of think that ownership would be settled by now, but apparently not. An application to register the mark for “museum services, namely, exhibiting to the public a historical site” was filed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the organization that has operated the museum since 1905. Seeing as the State of Texas owns the building, though, it has a different opinion on the matter and has filed for an extension of time to oppose the registration.

What fun. First, we have some always-entertaining confusion about what trademarks are, as quoted in the Austin American-Statesman:

Atkins said the application for a trademark was filed last October to give the Daughters a way to market official Alamo items and control the use of the name, in the same way that the National Football League licenses souvenirs and other companies control who can use their name.

“You can buy a Tony Dorsett T-shirt from Wal-Mart or you can go buy the real deal from the NFL. It’s kind of like that,” she said. “There are a bunch of people who use the Alamo name, and we’re not trying to limit that. … We’re just trying to do some good business practices.”

So I guess unauthorized Alamo mouse pads at Wal-Mart are ok –

Then, as Tamara Bennett points out at IP and Entertainment Law, a registration for “museum services” is perhaps not the best choice if what you’re after is the licensing of promotional goods –

I see an uphill battle for the Daughters, although the Daughters did register the trademark for Agua del Alamo in 2001 without complaint, now incontestable:

Undoubtedly it will settle soon, depriving us all of some good knock down, drag out fun in Texas.

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