Sunday, May 14, 2006

Huntington Beach wins the trademark war over Surf City USA

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO] awarded Huntington Beach three official trademark registration numbers that permit it to use the designation "Surf City USA" in ads and on beach bags, hats and other beachwear, the city Conference and Visitors' Bureau announced May 12, 2006.

For years, both Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz have called themselves Surf City after the 1963 hit song by Jan and Dean that boasts of a place where there are "two girls for every boy."

In 2004, Huntington Beach applied for official recognition of the name. Santa Cruz opposed, and a battle began, with the cities trading legal challenges and taunts and talk of a surfing contest for the title.

As a separate matter, IPBiz was researching the defamation cases brought by Annie Oakley against various newspapers in 1903, the same year as the Wright Brothers' first powered flight. "Annie Oakley" was merely a stage name and the cases, and the underlying facts (the incident, not involving Oakley, happened in Chicago), are rather interesting. Some cases were in federal court (3rd Circuit from Delaware; 11th circuit from Florida) and there was one in the notorious Chemung County, New York. One opinion is quite relevant to law reviews in the 21st century, about the re-broadcast of false information. Curiously, at this pre-Lanham Act time, her lawyers apparently never brought an action in trademark/tradename, although that might have yielded better results.


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