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Two “Boston Strong” Trademark Applications Cause Controversy

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Boston Strong t-shirt at

Boston Strong t-shirt at

Two trademark applications for “Boston Strong” filed shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings are causing some online controversy.

Huffington Post has reported that two separate applications were made to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure the exclusive rights to use the phrase on merchandise. Both were filed on April 17, two days after the bombings, and both seek to use the phrase on “clothing and accessories.”

“Boston Strong” quickly became the slogan to represent the city’s resilient spirit, emerging as a hashtag on Twitter as well as on graphics, including t-shirts.

One application was made by Born Into It Inc., a Massachusetts-based t-shirt company that operates the online retail site; the other was filed by Kerim Senkal, also of Massachussetts. already sells several t-shirts related to the bombings, including at least two designs featuring the phrase “Boston Strong.”

According to the website, “ A donation of 20% of every online order will be donated [to the Boston One Fund] from 4/15-4/30.”

Born Into It owner Ryan Gormady told HuffPo that his company’s “interest isn’t to police the mark [but] more to indemnify and protect ourselves and our colleagues and partners.”

A statement on the company’s website expands:

This filing was done right away before the phrase really caught on and was simply done to protect us from someone else pursuing the term as an actual trademark, going through the process, and then trying to enforce it on us. We had no idea at the time that this phrase would grow to where it has and become such a big rally cry for our city.

What do you think of these attempts to trademark “Boston Strong?”


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April 26th, 2013 at 11:18 am

Posted in Intellectual Property

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