Penn State Granted Trademark for Previously Denied “Happy Valley”

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Penn State University a long-awaited trademark for “Happy Valley” after the University appealed its March 2019 denial.

The University’s attempt to trademark the phrase “Happy Valley” failed not once, but twice – but in October 2019, the University finally prevailed. According to the USPTO report, Penn State can now use “Happy Valley” on shirts, sweatshirts, and headwear, and they may sue other parties who use the phrase (though the University does not plan to charge local businesses who already use the phrase).

The report does note, however, that the “Happy Valley” trademark was added only to the USPTO supplemental register, and that Penn State does not have the highest level of legal protection available for the “Happy Valley” trademark. The University could request to be added to the USPTO principal register in the future, though, if they can show that “Happy Valley” has acquired distinctiveness (meaning that average consumers would associate Happy Valley with Penn State University).

The University was granted several other trademarks this year as well, including trademarks for “Brew & White” on iced coffee, “For the Glory” on shirts, sweatshirts, and headwear, and “Penn State Nittany Lions” on various children’s products. The University is also awaiting a response to its trademark application of “For the Kids” on rubber and silicone wristbands.


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