Penn State can now trademark “Happy Valley” on apparel, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office added the term to its supplemental register Tuesday.
The filing allows the university to safeguard against similar registrations, file federal lawsuits for infringement and use the registered trademark symbol, though it will not grant the highest level of legal protection. Penn State may use the trademark on shirts, sweatshirts and headwear.
“We are pleased that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved our trademark for use of the term ‘Happy Valley’ on apparel,” university spokesman Wyatt DuBois said Wednesday. “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.”
The addition potentially puts an end to the nearly 11-monthlong process. The university could later claim acquired distinctiveness and request to be added to the principal register.
No decision has been made regarding future applications, but the university plans to have discussions with community partners about how to move forward, DuBois said. The Centre Region Council of Governments and Happy Valley Adventure Bureau previously signaled support for the trademark.
Penn State plans to work alongside CRCOG, HVAB and the Downtown State College Improvement District to co-develop a process and usage guidelines that “serve the interests of our collective community and protect the ‘Happy Valley’ trademark,” DuBois said.
The university also reiterated it does not plan to charge local companies that already use “Happy Valley” on apparel.
The registration is one of several Penn State was granted this year. The USPTO approved university trademarks for “Brew & White” on iced coffee, “For the Glory” on shirts, sweatshirts and headwear, “Penn State Nittany Lions” on a variety of children’s products and more.
The university also has an application pending to trademark “For the Kids” on rubber and silicone wristbands.
“We have numerous trademark filings and registrations throughout the world, all of which are a normal part of the university’s comprehensive licensing and trademarks program to promote and protect the integrity of a widely recognized and respected university brand,” DuBois said.