A couple of months ago there was quite a buzz about Holiday Inn’s projected $4 million annual savings by moving to a leaner and greener direction with their adoption of LED lighting on exterior signage. 

As you may recall, back in June we blogged about Holiday Inn’s interesting effort to federally register a pair of non-traditional lighting trademarks, one employing a green-colored lighting scheme and the other employing a blue lighting scheme: 


We had noted it would likely take a strong showing of "look for" advertising to overcome the registration refusals initially lodged by the Trademark Office.

Instead of attempting to overcome the registration refusals, however, Holiday Inn apparently has opted for a leaner approach and cost savings on the trademark front too, settling for Supplemental Registrations, a much dimmer form of protection — offering no legal presumptions of validity, ownership, or exclusive right to use.

About the only meaningful benefit of a Supplemental Registration for a service mark is that it blocks and prevents others from obtaining Principal Registration for confusingly similar marks. Here are the official drawings associated with those newly issued Supplemental Registrations:

Mark Image            Mark Image

In addition to amending the applications to seek registration on the Supplemental Register, Holiday Inn tweaked the description of the marks to read as follows (for the green mark):

The mark consists of green lighting formed by four light fixtures placed in a symmetrical fashion near the entryway of the building. One set of two green lights is evenly placed on columns to the right and left of the entryway and direct the green lighting downward thereby casting a green shadow down the length of the column; while the other set of two green lights is evenly placed on the building wall above the entryway and direct the green lighting upwards, casting a green shadow up the length of the wall and roof overhang. The matter shown by the dotted lines is not a part of the mark and serves only to show the position of the mark.

Perhaps Holiday Inn will be back — with a brighter approach down the road — to seek Principal Registration after it believes it has sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness.

Any thoughts on how long that might take?