“It’s Just Another ‘Cyber Monday’”: Trademarks Sought to Name the Shopping Days After Thanksgiving
In the United States, the two shopping days that follow the Thanksgiving holiday are known, respectively, as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” These two days collectively mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. According to the American Philatelist, the term “Black Friday” was first used by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966. The police department used it to describe the “massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks” that the downtown stores experienced—and continue to experience—from mobs of shoppers.
“Cyber Monday” earned its place on the list of pre-Christmas shopping euphemisms almost 40 years later—although not a “euphemism” for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “Cyber Monday” was created to describe the surge in online shopping that took place the Monday after Thanksgiving. After trending consumer behavior in 2003 and 2004, the NRF’s Shop.org observed that an overwhelming number of consumers, “who were too busy to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend[,]…shopped online that Monday to find bargains.” The association noted that much of the “Cyber Monday” online shopping was conducted while consumers were at work. “At that time, [a number of consumers] took advantage of the high-speed Internet connections [that were] available at work [due to the fact that] many had dial up modems or no Internet connection at home.”
Today, a number of advertisers and retailers have sought to register, or have registered, the infamous shopping terms. In December 2012, a Wisconsin brewery registered “Black Friday” as a trademark. Lakefront Brewery Inc. stated in its filing that it began using the phrase in November 2012 with respect to its beer products. A second application was filed in September 2012 by an Ohio resident for use of the term with advertising and marketing services; this application remains live and pending.
Similarly, with respect to retail, American Signature Inc. registered “A Month of Black Fridays” in December 2012. American Signature’s application specified that retail stores selling furniture would use the mark. Sears Holdings Corp.’s Sears Brands Unit registered “Better than Black Friday” in September 2010 for use with “retail department-store services and online retail department store services.” DealNews.com Inc. registered “dealnews Where every day is Black Friday” as a trademark in March 2010.
The most recent “Black Friday” registered trademark came from Tuloko, LLC, who registered “Tuloko Make Everyday Black Friday” as a trademark in March 2013. The application specified that the mark would be used for telephone directory information that is provided through global communications networks. The application also noted that the mark would be used for interactive websites that obtain user comments and for business and advertising services, among other things.
“Cyber Monday,” however, has only one registered trademark. The trademark was registered in August 2013 to an Arizona resident. In the application, it stated that the mark would be used for “advertising and commercial information services, via the [I]nternet”; directory services; and marketing services.