It’s true. MERRY CHRISTMAS is trademarked. In fact there are four federally registered trademarks for MERRY CHRISTMAS.
MERRY CHRISTMAS Trademark
- MERRY CHRISTMAS for “Fruit wine; grape wine; natural sparkling wines; sparkling fruit wine; sparkling grape wine; sparkling wines; sweet wines; white wine; wine; wines; wines and sparkling wines,” Registration No. 4,077,131.
- MERRY CHRISTMAS and Design for “Christmas tree ornaments and decorations,” Registration No. 1,790,526.
- MERRY CHRISTMAS for “Cigar and cigarette boxes; cigar and cigarette boxes not of precious metal; cigar bands; cigar boxes; cigar boxes not of precious metal; cigar tubes; cigars,” Registration No. 3,561,707.
- MERRY CHRISTMAS and Design for “Bibs not of cloth or paper; caps; children’s and infants’ cloth bibs; children’s cloth eating bibs; clothing, namely, khakis; clothing, namely, wrap-arounds; hoods; infant and toddler one piece clothing; jerseys; shifts; short sets; shoulder wraps; swaddling clothes; ties; tops; wearable garments and clothing, namely, shirts; wraps,” Registration No. 3,737,733.
Can I Use MERRY CHRISTMAS?
Does this mean I can’t use “Merry Christmas” on my sweaters? No. It does not. Although the above owners were able to acquire the federal registrations, nothing limits you from using the term on your goods to wish someone a happy holiday.
You can use the term because the public associates the phrase with a common sentiment during Christmas, not an individual business. For example, one Examining Attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office stated:
The examining attorney refuses registration because the proposed mark does not function as a trademark…In this case, the slogan is merely a sentiment expressed by one to another, and, as used on the specimen, would be taken by the customer to refer to these holiday sentiments, rather than to indicate the source of the juice. Therefore, the slogan is merely indicative of the sentiments of the customer in presenting the goods to another, and not used as a source indicator.
What About FELIZ NAVIDAD?
Does this apply to Feliz Navidad? Yes. Again, if you are adding the mark to packaging as a holiday greeting, you are okay. Here is an example of one Examining Attorney’s response to someone applying for FELIZ NAVIDAD:
The mark does not function as a trademark on the specimen because it would be understood by the consumer to be a holiday greeting, and not to indicate a source of the goods. The wording Spanish wording FELIZ NAVIDAD means Merry Christmas. See attached dictionary definition. Attached are several web sites showing bath and body products specially packaged for the Christmas Holiday. Additionally, attached are several websites showing holiday items bearing FELIZ NAVIDAD as a Christmas greeting or a Christmas wish for the recipient. Similarly, applicant’s use of FELIZ NAVIDAD on the packaging of the gift set would be viewed by the purchaser simply as a holiday wish or greeting extended with the gift. Thus, the mark fails to function as a source indicator for the goods, and must be refused.
Don’t be Afraid to Say “Merry Christmas”
As long as you are using the phrase to express sentiment to others during the Christmas season, you are fine. So don’t worry about Merry Christmas trademark infringement, oh and Merry Christmas!