‘Marathon Monday’ Trademark Doesn’t Belong to the BAA, Board Rules

'Boston Marathon' and 'Marathon Monday' are not interchangeable, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trial and Appeal Board.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

The Boston Marathon is the only major marathon held on a Monday. And though the Boston Athletic Association has put on the race every year since 1897, it can’t trademark the phrase “Marathon Monday.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled last week that the Boston Athletic Association cannot block Everett-based clothing manufacturer Velocity from using “Marathon Monday,” as it had done in 2009 and 2010 after the BAA kiboshed its request to be an official licensee of the “Boston Marathon” trademark. (The BAA has an exclusive partnership with Adidas.)

According to court documents, the BAA’s director of marketing and communications, John Fleming, presented the board with “copies of internet printouts, news articles and press releases purporting to show that MARATHON MONDAY and BOSTON MARATHON are used interchangeably.” Velocity countered by listing all the third-party websites already using “Marathon Monday.”

Ultimately, the TTAB found that “Boston Marathon” and “Marathon Monday” cannot be used interchangeably to identify the race. For example, the New York City Marathon, typically run on a Sunday, occasionally uses “Marathon Monday” to describe coinciding festivities.

“Given the lack of sufficient evidence showing that MARATHON MONDAY is perceived by the relevant public as a close approximation of the name or identity of [the BAA], and given the frequent and various third-party uses of the term ‘Marathon Monday’ detailed above (in particular, those that refer to the ING New York City Marathon), which show that the term does not point uniquely and unmistakably to [the BAA],” the TTAB ruled, “we find that [Velocity’s] use of the term MARATHON MONDAY on clothing does not falsely suggest a connection with the Boston Athletic Association.”

You can real the TTAB’s full ruling below.