Trademarking Animal Abuse: Should the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) Lose the TWHBEA Trademark Portfolio Under the Lanham Act for Failure to Comply with the Horse Protection Act?
45 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2016 Last revised: 6 Dec 2016
Date Written: August 16, 2016
For almost a half-century, the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (the “HPA”) has made the “cruel and inhumane” practice of soring horses illegal. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) is tasked with enforcement of the HPA. Underfunding of the USDA has greatly inhibited HPA enforcement and soring remains rampant. The Lanham Act precludes registration of trademarks when a registrant is involved in illegal goods or services, when a registrant abandons a mark for insufficient oversight, and when a mark is deemed to be “disparaging.” The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (“TWHBEA”) has several United States trademark registrations for a variety of goods and services related to Tennessee Walking Horses. This paper explores using the provisions of the Lanham Act to cancel TWHBEA’s trademark portfolio to leverage TWHBEA compliance with the HPA.
Keywords: Lanham Act, Horse Protection Act, Soring, Naked License, Animal Abuse
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