Augusta National Blazes a Trail to Registration of its Iconic Green Jacket
Protecting the Product 11/10/20 James J. Aquilina
Since April 1949, when legendary golfer Sam Snead took the top prize, the winner of the annual Masters Tournament has been awarded a green blazer with gold buttons on the front and sleeves. Now, after more than 70 years of use, that color configuration as applied to a jacket—as shown in the mark image below—has become a federally-registered trademark.
Just in time for this year’s rescheduled tournament—which will occur this week, November 12-15—Augusta National, Inc. may now use the registered trademark symbol (®) in connection with the green jacket/gold button color scheme in relation to “Promotion of goods and services through sponsorship of sports events” (International Class 035) and “Organizing and conducting golf tournaments” (International Class 041). The registration, a record of which can be seen here, makes it clear that the green-gold color scheme is not specific to any particular style or type of jacket, since the dotted lines in the mark drawing are “intended to show the position of the mark and are not part of the mark as shown.”
This registration serves as an interesting example of the development of source identification in a color scheme for a service through application of those colors to a physical item used in connection with the rendering of that service. Such a trademark is referred to by this author as “service dress” to distinguish it from more well-known types of trade dress for product configurations or product packaging in relation to the sale of goods.
Trademark issues aside, if Bryson DeChambeau keeps hitting the ball the way he has been lately, will Augusta National have a green jacket big enough to fit him?
If your business already includes or will soon involve the use of distinctive products or packaging or unique service-related symbols, it may be possible to build value in your trademark portfolio by registering these non-traditional identifiers of source with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. For assistance with the development and registration of trade dress rights, please contact us.