Monday, October 16, 2017

Dog Breeders and Trademarks (Part II)

by Steve Reiss (

In our previous post, we discussed the value of kennel names and the limited trademark-like protection provided to kennel's registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

We ended that post by raising the question of whether this AKC protection is enough?

The answer to that question can be "no".

First, the AKC protection does not give the kennel owner any protection outside AKC events or the registration of dogs with the AKC. With a registered US trademark, the kennel owner is protected nationwide against any unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services. In other words, the US trademark will give its owner both wider territorial coverage and wider range of potential infringers. Indeed, a business' trademark is often considering that business' most valuable asset.

While admittedly an inability to be able to register a dog with a confusingly similar name with the AKC is a powerful tool. An inability to register the puppies with the AKC can make the puppies valueless. After all, it is the AKC chain of pedigree is what evidences value of a puppy.

Second, the AKC requires potential registrants to have a history with the AKC and a history of breeding or studing. This can mean a minimum of 5 years to be eligible to register with AKC. Accordingly, brand new kennels, without a history with the AKC, will be unable to register their kennel name and therefore potential shady kennels are free to have dogs with potentially confusing names registered with the AKC.

More to come...


Best of luck in the canine competition and exhibition world.

We are there if you need us...

This post is advertising material and not legal advice.

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