Yesterday, the Master’s Tournament officially teed off at Augusta National Gold Club in Augusta, Georgia. Specifically, the Masters is an annual golf tournament and showcases each year some of golf’s greatest players. Since Sam Snead won the Masters tournament in 1949, the coveted green jacket has been awarded to the winner of the tournament each year. In fact, the tournament’s defending champion assists the new champion with putting on the Masters Green (aka Pantone 342).
Is the Master’s Jacket Trademarked?
Originally filed in February of 2019, the Masters Green jacket was registered as a trademark on March 3, 2020. Specifically, the “mark consists of the colors green and gold where the color green is applied to the jacket and the color gold is applied to the three waist buttons and the two sleeve buttons on each arm of the jacket.” U.S. Reg. No. 6,000,045. Moreover, the registration covers Augusta National’s golf tournaments and the promotion of goods and services through sponsorships of its sporting events. Id.
Initially, the USPTO refused the Green Jacket application for being non-distinctive. Specifically, product designs are not registerable on the principal register without proof of acquired distinctiveness. Moreover, a product design can never be inherently distinctive. Thus, to register on the principal register, product designs must assert a claim of acquired distinctiveness.
In response, the applicant submitted evidence to show that the mark’s primary significance is an identifier of source. In particular, the applicant submitted evidence showing that:
- The applicant owns three registrations on the Principal Register for the standard characters GREEN JACKET;
- The applicant used the Green Jacket as a trade dress in connection with its golf tournaments since 1949; and
- The applicant submitted evidence showing the substantial fame of the GREEN JACKET trade dress.
Overall, the applicant overcame the refusals, and the GREEN JACKET become a registered trademark with the USPTO. While the jacket has been used for decades, it just goes to show you that it is never too late to file for trademark protection and protect your brand!