Abstract: The brackets have finally been released for the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, commonly called March Madness. The term “March Madness” evokes images of massive upsets, busted brackets, and sounds like the buzzer and Bill Raftery’s voice. “March Madness” is just one example of a sports event that truly owns a time of the year and a name that fosters a powerful resonance in American culture. Other examples include Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Super Bowl Sunday.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) thought that “Marathon Monday” was a unique day and term that specifically referred to the Boston Marathon. In late October 2015, however, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled that “Marathon Monday” does not point “uniquely and unmistakably” to the BAA. The TTAB was correct in denying the trademark, because Marathon Monday is not an event that is specifically associated with the Boston Marathon. Beginning in the 1970’s, marathons have become incredibly popular throughout the United States, and that meant that there was a high probability that the term “Marathon Monday” would be used in many different ways. The BAA should have attempted to trademark the term in the 1970’s, because now the Disney Marathon and New York Marathon both use the term “Marathon Monday.”