Cities can’t help themselves but to compete about which area has the most sporting success. I remember ESPN used to run a segment called Titletown USA to determine the ultimate champion city. Living in Gainesville at the time as a University of Florida student, obviously I believed my city deserved to win the title. Unfortunately, Valdosta, Georgia won the belt, and we never spoke about Titletown again (at least in my house). Now, a revamped version of the moniker might be making its return in the Tampa Bay area. With the Stanley Cup and Lombardi Trophy in the area, Champa Bay seems like a fitting title. But is Champa Bay a good trademark?

As a diehard Lightning fan, the Champa Bay nickname became one my favorite terms for this area after September. With the Rays World Series run and the Bucs Super Bowl, Champa Bay spread across the area’s three main sports. The nickname is clever; predictably, that lead to multiple trademark applications over the past few months. Interestingly, CHAMPA BAY used to be a registered trademark for decals, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and golf balls. However, the registration lapsed in 2012 after its owner failed to renew the registration.

Since the original registration lapsed, it appears that the trademark is available for registration. However, there is very little chance that any of the pending applications actually register. Trademark law prevents widely used messages from registration, since those messages fail to function as a trademark. In addition, geographically descriptive trademarks face an uphill battle to registration. Moreover, each subsequent trademark application will undoubtedly face refusals to register based on the previous trademark applications.

CHAMPA BAY – Probably Not Registrable

The short answer to my original question is that Champa Bay is not a great trademark. However, the good news is that Tampa-based retailers can sell Champa Bay-branded goods without running into trademark trouble. What a time to be a Tampa sports fan!

Why did the CHAMPA BAY trademark registration get cancelled?

The original owner failed to renew the trademark by proving continued use of the mark in 2012.

Have any of the CHAMPA BAY trademark applications been refused registration?

Not yet – none of the applications have been examined yet. However, it is unlikely that any of the applications will register.