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Grange trademark extends to new categories

By Leroy Watson, National Grange Special Director for Trademark Protection and Brand Management, (The New Grange - July/August 2011)

  AUGUST 23, 2011 --

In June, the National Grange received welcome news that our application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to extend our general trademark protection for the name GRANGE and our GRANGE LOGO to several important sub-categories of products and services that are critical to the fundraising efforts of local and state Granges across the nation, has been approved. 

Originally filed with the Patent and Trademark office in October 2010, these new trademark registrations will strengthen our trademark protections and help reduce costs in future trademark infringement cases.

The subcategories of commercial products and services that are covered by the new Grange–owned trademark registrations include:

1. Cookbooks

2. Farmers’ markets

3. Fairs and exhibition facilities

4. Food service/catering services

5. Banquet hall facilities

6. Social/community hall meeting facilities

The practical effect of these new registrations is that potential infringers are now on explicit, public notice that the National Grange and its affiliated local, county and state Grange chapters regularly conduct extensive commercial activities in these areas of commerce using the GRANGE trademark and the GRANGE LOGO trademark. 

This should help discourage both intentional and unintentional future infringement situations. 

More importantly, when future infringement cases arise within any of the specific categories of commercial products and services covered by these new registrations, the National Grange will not be required to produce any additional physical evidence that demonstrates that our state and local Granges are conducting commercial activities in these areas. 

The burden of proof that there is no “conflict” between the National Grange’s trademarks and the activities of the infringing party falls almost entirely on the infringing party, which is a tough burden to bear in any legal proceeding and which will substantially reduce the National Grange’s legal expenses in future trademark cases.

“These new trademark registrations create additional value, assurances and protection for local and State Granges who use our GRANGE trademark or our GRANGE LOGO trademark in their fundraising activities,” National Grange Master Ed Luttrell said. “Traditional Grange fundraising and community service activities like selling cookbooks, sponsoring farmers’ markets, conducting fairs and exhibitions, holding community dinners, and renting Grange halls now receive additional trademark protection against individuals, businesses or especially corporations who would try to use our historic trademarks for their private profit. Over the past four years, the National Grange has never lost a trademark infringement case and with these new registrations our legal rights to manage our trademark assets exclusively for the ‘Good of the Order’ have been substantially strengthened.”

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