Happiness is a Federally-Registered Mark


It should be no surprise that the famous Coca-Cola brand name is federally-registered. One of the many significant benefits of federal registration is the USPTO’s obligation to refuse registration of third party marks that are likely to confuse — most importantly, without the prompting or involvement of the prior trademark registrant.

No doubt Coca-Cola will be popping a top and opening a little happiness when it learns that it won’t have to spend the time or effort to formally oppose an entirely ridiculous intent-to-use trademark application filed earlier this year by ”Harvey W. Wiley, d/b/a We The People” (apparently located in Chattanooga, Tennessee).

The application seeks to register COCA COLA, without a hyphen (as if that makes a difference), for “Colas; Non-alcoholic beverages, namely, carbonated beverages.” Last Friday, the USPTO promptly delivered to Mr. Wiley both barrels of sticky syrup in a 57-page Office Action and registration refusal. It should be safe to trust that this application will never proceed to publication, but it should leave us all wondering what on earth the Applicant is thinking.

Perhaps the whole trademark filing is a hoax, since it appears “Harvey W. Wiley” is a known historical pioneer consumer activist, as noted by the FDA. Moreover, Applicant Harvey can’t seem to make up his mind on his actual name, as he signed the application as the “Owner” – ”Harvey W. Harvey,” then he signed as “General Partner” – ”Harvey Wiley,” a few months later in a voluntary amendment to disclaim exclusive rights in the term COLA.

This is truly bizarre behavior. You’d think the $275 governmental filing fee would act as a sufficient deterrent for utterly wasting the time of USPTO Examining Attorneys, but apparently not for this Harvey.

And now, for the rest of the story, to quote an entirely different Harvey.

Thankfully for Coca-Cola, its portfolio of federally-registered Coca-Cola marks should avoid its need to waste any time on this one, with special thanks to the USPTO, of course.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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