Apparently you can trademark
The US trademarks for Santa Claus
and Father Christmas
have been claimed by a British
man, Stephen Bottomley
of Father Christmas Ltd
. When trademarks for products and things named for people (e.g. Air Jordan
) are granted, the US Patent and Trademark Office
requires proof that the person consents to the trademark application. But in this case, a spokesman conceded that "We do not believe Santa Claus is a living person." This announcement, which must have Virginia O'Hanlon
spinning in her grave, is believed to be the first such acknowledgment from the US Government.
So there is no Santa Claus
, but does that mean you can trademark him? Much like domain name squatting
, whoever gets there first wins. So posted on the front page of Bottomely’s web site (www.santa-claus.com – purveyors of fine Christmas
and holiday crap) are the words "Santa Claus is a registered trademark of Father Christmas Ltd." and "The Real Santa Claus Lives Here!"
cheered at the acquisition. But here in America, a profound yawn. See, he may hold the trademark, but it is completely unenforceable. Once something has been in the public domain
for so long and become so ingrained in the culture, you can’t just take that away. But hell, it’s a nice conversation piece, and he’s sure to be destined for a Trivial Pursuit
question and maybe even the Guinness book
, but it’s utterly meaningless.
So there. :P