Juneteenth Trademark: Celebration or Commodification? A Look at Juneteenth Trademarks

Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. This is a positive development, reflecting a growing awareness of this important chapter in American history. However, alongside the celebrations, there’s a concerning trend: the rise of trademarks associated with Juneteenth.

Here at EsquireTrademarks.com – trademark attorney, we believe in honoring Juneteenth’s historical significance while fostering inclusive celebrations. That’s why we’re diving into the issue of trademarks and Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Trademarks: A Numbers Game

Our research identified 38 entries in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database for live registered trademarks and pending applications that contain the word “Juneteenth.” The below table provides a glimpse into the scope of this trend. The predominant theme is to register the JUNETEENTH name as a trademark for cultural events. There are other JUNETEENTH trademarks that focus on commercialization of goods like candy, soda, and apparel items. There is a JUNETEENTH trademark for vodka.

juneteenth trademark example

Before we delve deeper into Juneteenth Trademarks, let’s clarify some key points:

  • Can you trademark Juneteenth?

    Possibly. Generally you cannot trademark the name of the Juneteenth Holiday itself. As an applicant, you are likely to get a “failure to function” refusal for a Juneteenth Trademark application. This is because the Juneteenth word is a cultural / historical word. Juneteenth is an informational social, political, religious, or similar kind of message that merely conveys support of, admiration for, or affiliation with the ideals conveyed by the message. See In re Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 129 USPQ2d 1148, 1160 (TTAB 2019) (holding INVESTING IN AMERICAN JOBS not registrable for retail store services or promoting public awareness of goods made or assembled by American workers because the mark would be perceived as a phrase “commonly used in the marketplace to convey a particular social and economic informational message”).

  • Are their ways to register the Juneteenth Trademark?

    Examination of the Juneteenth trademarks in the table shows it is possible by adding other words or distinctive logo elements. However, the Trademark Office may make you enter a disclaimer of the non-protectable elements of the Juneteenth trademark.

Here’s a Table List of Juneteenth Trademarks, Live Applications and Registrations