–Dan Kelly, Attorney
There is an interesting phenomenon in the blogging world in which readers who can post comments on a blog vie to be the first one to comment on a new post. On some of the larger blogs, this results in several entries at the head of the comments, all of which contain nothing more than the word “first.” Only one of these comments is ever correct for a given post, and I’ve never seen any commenters vie for second.
Observing this phenomenon recently, I was reminded of a similar phenomenon in the banking industry. How many “First” banks are there? Hard to say, but there are more than 450 registered trademarks in the United States using some form of the word or number “first” for use in connection with banking services. The oldest of these is a stylized logo for the ordinal “1st,” claiming use back to 1903. The registration is currently owned by JPMorgan Chase. By comparision, I can find only eight registered marks using “Second” for banking services, and most of these belong to the same entity.
In this context, I’ve always thought that Fifth Third Bank had a particularly memorable brand, if for no other reason that it really makes a person wonder about what happened to the first four “Third Banks.” Fifth Third is apparently so named as it is the product of a merger between Third National Bank and Fifth National Bank.
As an aside, try an Internet search for the words “first bank” and note various domain names that come up: firstbanks.com, firstbank.com, firstbankks.com, and efirstbank.com, among many others. The third of these is a clever play on the fact that it is located in Kansas.