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Penn State Granted 'Happy Valley' Trademark

by on October 30, 2019 5:20 PM

Penn State scored a victory in its nearly yearlong effort to trademark "Happy Valley" on Tuesday when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office added the geographic descriptor to its supplemental registry with the university as registrant.

The trademark is for use on headwear, shirts and sweatshirts, according to the registration certificate.

"We are pleased that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved our trademark for use of the term 'Happy Valley' on apparel," Penn State spokesman Wyatt DuBois said in a statement. "As we have stated previously, our goal has always been to protect the term “Happy Valley” from nefarious use not consistent with Penn State or the community’s values."

Penn State initially applied in December 2018 for a trademark in the principal register but after an initial rejection later amended the application for the supplemental register. That means it can use and grant use of the mark and file lawsuits for infringement, but is not an incontestable presumption of exclusive ownership in all 50 states, as the principal register would be.

DuBois said, as university officials have emphasized in the past, that Penn State will not charge local entities that are using "Happy Valley" on apparel. 

The university now will continue to work with Centre County businesses and stakeholders including the Downtown State College Improvement District, Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (formerly the Convention and Visitors Bureau), and Centre Region Council of Governments develop process and use guidelines "that serve the interests of our collective community and protect the 'Happy Valley' trademark," DuBois said.

"Area tourism, marketing and business goals and needs have been, and will continue to be, a central focus of these discussions..." he added.

The previous trademark holder, listed as Nittany Embroidery & Digitizing, Inc., of Pleasant Gap, which did not prevent other local entities from using it, chose not to renew it last year. Penn State moved to secure it "to safeguard the continued future use of the term, and the university believed this was important for furtherance of its town and gown relationship," a university spokesperson said at the time.

 



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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