Trademark Trends – State Names

Geographic names play an important part in branding, from creating a strong local or regional flair to a mark. As a result, there are several provisions of the Lanham Act that restrict registration to certain types of geographic marks. This post will not dive into the legal details, though – it’s looking at a broader question of popularity. Geographic names often reflect broad cultural significance, like a country name, or very local importance, like city or county or even neighborhood names. This post looks at the popularity of brands that include state names as a part of the mark or pseudo mark.

There is roughly one active trademark application or registration per every 100 US residents, so we’ll use US population vs. state population to find the “expected” ratio of trademark filings related to that state versus the actual numbers. So, we can find which states are most over-represented from a branding perspective, and what other not rigorously-statistically-supported insights we can pull from this data without this blog post taking way too long to complete.

New York did really well, but almost certainly because the city name is boosting the “state” numbers by a ton. Texas is a bit over-represented; no surprise, given the extent of “patriotism” – there is a hole in English, or at least in my personal lexicon, for a state-level equivalent of “patriotism.”

States with multiple larger cities tended to perform worse than comparably sized states with only one major city; it’s likely that city-level affiliations carry more weight in, say, Ohio than in Georgia.

Some tiny states, Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, and Vermont, were really over-represented. At least from a trademark filing perspective, people love those states! In general, smaller states tended to over-perform their expected filings; perhaps the absence of an “alternative affiliation” like a metro center or centers pushes more geographic branding towards a state name.

State Population Live Apps + Regs Expected Actual Difference
California 39,776,830 2,593 0.121 0.102 -0.020
Texas 28,704,330 2,399 0.088 0.094 0.007
Florida 21,312,211 1,346 0.065 0.053 -0.012
New York 19,862,512 3,495 0.061 0.137 0.077
Pennsylvania 12,823,989 318 0.039 0.012 -0.027
Illinois 12,768,320 327 0.039 0.013 -0.026
Ohio 11,694,664 403 0.036 0.016 -0.020
Georgia 10,545,138 612 0.032 0.024 -0.008
North Carolina 10,390,149 245 0.032 0.010 -0.022
Michigan 9,991,177 555 0.030 0.022 -0.009
New Jersey 9,032,872 285 0.028 0.011 -0.016
Virginia 8,525,660 759 0.026 0.030 0.004
Washington 7,530,552 600 0.023 0.024 0.001
Arizona 7,123,898 511 0.022 0.020 -0.002
Massachusetts 6,895,917 451 0.021 0.018 -0.003
Tennessee 6,782,564 398 0.021 0.016 -0.005
Indiana 6,699,629 352 0.020 0.014 -0.007
Missouri 6,135,888 220 0.019 0.009 -0.010
Maryland 6,079,602 195 0.019 0.008 -0.011
Wisconsin 5,818,049 362 0.018 0.014 -0.004
Colorado 5,684,203 724 0.017 0.028 0.011
Minnesota 5,628,162 393 0.017 0.015 -0.002
South Carolina 5,088,916 164 0.016 0.006 -0.009
Alabama 4,888,949 235 0.015 0.009 -0.006
Louisiana 4,682,509 284 0.014 0.011 -0.003
Kentucky 4,472,265 420 0.014 0.016 0.003
Oregon 4,199,563 431 0.013 0.017 0.004
Oklahoma 3,940,521 240 0.012 0.009 -0.003
Connecticut 3,588,683 201 0.011 0.008 -0.003
Iowa 3,160,553 316 0.010 0.012 0.003
Utah 3,159,345 249 0.010 0.010 0.000
Nevada 3,056,824 237 0.009 0.009 0.000
Arkansas 3,020,327 106 0.009 0.004 -0.005
Mississippi 2,982,785 162 0.009 0.006 -0.003
Kansas 2,918,515 267 0.009 0.010 0.002
New Mexico 2,090,708 156 0.006 0.006 0.000
Nebraska 1,932,549 124 0.006 0.005 -0.001
West Virginia 1,803,077 59 0.005 0.002 -0.003
Idaho 1,753,860 195 0.005 0.008 0.002
Hawaii 1,426,393 950 0.004 0.037 0.033
New Hampshire 1,350,575 61 0.004 0.002 -0.002
Maine 1,341,582 594 0.004 0.023 0.019
Montana 1,062,330 299 0.003 0.012 0.008
Rhode Island 1,061,712 63 0.003 0.002 -0.001
Delaware 971,180 179 0.003 0.007 0.004
South Dakota 877,790 160 0.003 0.006 0.004
North Dakota 755,238 100 0.002 0.004 0.002
Alaska 738,068 944 0.002 0.037 0.035
District of Columbia 703,608 154 0.002 0.006 0.004
Vermont 623,960 431 0.002 0.017 0.015
Wyoming 573,720 159 0.002 0.006 0.004
  328,032,421 25,483      

 

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