Penn State Happy Valley Sign

Penn State Happy Valley sign sitting on top of Penn State foam fingers at the downtown book store.

Penn State will continue its attempt to trademark “Happy Valley” by filing an appeal on Wednesday to move to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s supplemental register.

They had previously applied to be on the office’s principal register, which is exclusively for distinctive marks and comes with the presumption of federal ownership and incontestability in court.

The supplemental register is a second-level trademark which offers a lower level of legal protection that does not afford the entity looking to trademark presumption of federal protection.

Penn State first filed a request to trademark in December 2018 with the goal of protecting the term from nefarious use not consistent with Penn State or community values, according to Wyatt DuBois, a Penn State spokesperson.

The university faced prior backlash from community members who believe the university is trying to get the trademark for merchandising and financial reasons.

Penn State says it has spent several weeks engaging in conversations with local businesses and community stakeholders to reassure them of their goal.

“The class 25 trademark filing for apparel, which include t-shirts, sweatshirts and headwear only, will not impact any existing uses of “Happy Valley” in the community,” DuBois said.

In March, the USPTO denied the application after citing “Happy Valley” as a geographical area that did not meet the standard of a good or service to trademark, as previously reported by The Daily Collegian.

If granted supplemental register, Penn State will be able to use the registered trademark symbol on products and will have the opportunity to reapply for principal register in five years.

“If and when the trademark filing is successful, the university and our community partners will continue to work together to co-develop a process and usage guidelines that protect the 'Happy Valley' trademark and serve the interests of our collective community,” Dubois said.


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