Saturday, September 30, 2017

Dog Breeders/Kennels and Trademarks (Part I)

by Steve Reiss (

The value of a dog is in large part based upon its pedigree. Its pedigree is not only based upon the dog's particular parents. Its pedigree is also based upon the reputation and good will of its breeder. The reputation and goodwill of the breeder is probably more important. Hearing that famous Kennel XYZ just had a litter of pups, may be enough to have potential purchasers of those pups running to Kennel XYZ before even knowing about the parents of those puppies.

Given that so much value of a dog is based on the name of its breeder, breeder kennel names are ripe for protection.

That dog breeder kennel names huge carry good will, are valuable, and should be protected, has been long recognized.

Almost concurrently with the founding of the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1887, kennel names of prominent breeders were recognized. The first publication of registered kennel names was in the January 1889 issue of the Gazette. The first official rule governing kennel names appeared in the January 1, 1903 AKC's Rules for the Government of Dog Shows, See Registered Kennel Names.

Today, the AKC allows the registration of kennel names:

When a kennel name is registered [with the American Kennel Club], the American Kennel Club will exercise reasonable care in protecting the name for the use of the individual(s) to whom it has been registered. Currently, a Registered Kennel Name is protected in all positions of a dog's name. For example, if the name "Bob" was a Registered Kennel Name, then the name could not appear anywhere in the name of a dog without the written permission of the owner of that kennel name. Further, a dog or litter cannot be registered with a kennel as its owner unless the kennel name is registered with the AKC. Id.

So, the AKC offers a very limited trademark-like protection to those who register their kennel name with the AKC.

The question kennel owners must ask themselves is "Is the AKC protection enough?"

We will try and answer that question in Part II of the post.

This post is advertising material and not legal advice. 

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