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Western District Finds Song Title Generic, Dismisses Trademark Claim

The song title “Mom Song” isn’t protectable as a trademark, Western District Judge Ricardo Martinez found last month.

He granted summary judgment in favor of comedian Anita Renfroe, who moved to dismiss comedian Frank Coble’s false designation of origin claim alleging that Ms. Renfroe’s “Momisms Song” about mothers infringed rights in his “Mom Song” about mothers.

The court found: “Mom Song’ is a generic mark that is not protectable. Indeed, virtually any song regarding the broad topic of motherhood could appropriately bear the same mark. The ‘Mom Song’ mark, which simply names the product to which it is attached, does not require ‘the exercise of some imagination … to associate [the] mark with the product,’ and, although the mark is descriptive in the most literal sense, the primary significance of the mark is to describe the type of product (i.e., a song about a mom) rather than its producer. Because the term ‘Mom Song’ ‘embrace[s] an entire class of products’ (i.e., songs about moms), it can receive no trademark protection. Allowing trademark protection for such a generic phrase would place an undue burden on competition, contrary to the goals of trademark law.”

The court also dismissed Mr. Coble’s claim for copyright infringement.

The case cite is Coble v. Renfroe, No. 11-0498, 2012 WL 503860 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 15, 2012) (Martinez, J.).

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