April 29, 2014

A Kentucky Derby Trademark Treasure

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC


I am a Kentucky boy, born and bred. I drink bourbon. I love college basketball. I have a picture of Secretariat on my office wall. And, my eyes fill with tears every time I hear "My Old Kentucky Home" sung at the Kentucky Derby. Since this Saturday is the first Saturday in May, I couldn't resist writing about the Kentucky Derby this week. There are many Derby-related trademarks to discuss. "Derby Pie" and the "Run for the Roses" come immediately to mind. But as luck would have it, I hopped onto the Trademark Office's website to see when the trademark "Kentucky Derby" was registered. What I found was amazing.

As we have discussed before, words must be used in commerce to be considered trademarks. The Trademark Office requires a sample (called a "specimen") to prove that the mark is being used. If you follow us on Twitter and Instagram, you see some great examples of classic trademark specimens on a daily basis. The trademark application for "Kentucky Derby" was filed in November of 1973. The specimen is the racing form from the 1973 Kentucky Derby- the year that Secretariat won the Triple Crown. If you love Kentucky, horse racing, Secretariat, sports, or history, this should make you very, very happy. I know I can't stop looking at it. So, courtesy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, here is the 1973 Kentucky Derby racing form:

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