Anheuser-Busch Files Trademarks On ATL And 41 Other Airport Codes

You may be able to file this one under the bizarre category.  Anheuser-Busch is looking for approval to place a trademark on ATL and 41 other airport codes:

The class of goods for each filing is ‘beer.’ One airport code that is not on the list is TPA, Tampa International Airport. The airport reported last month that Cigar City opened the country’s first airport brewery there.

I wonder how long it will be until they start painting the airplanes to look like huge flying cans of Budweiser….


  1. Calypso says:

    Anheuser-Busch just trade-marked the airport code for the Pittsburgh-SouthSide, PISS.

    Sorry, that was crude. Crude, but true, nonetheless.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      That sounds very appropriate seeing as how that is one of the main things that beer will make one do if they drink it excessively.

      • Calypso says:

        I see you took the high road on this, as I was likening the airport code more to the actual taste of their product, not to a by-product of its consumption.

  2. Baker says:

    So would we theoretically owe Anheuser-Busch money every time we used the abbreviation ATL? This seems ridiculous. Trademark/ copyright law is so bizarre. Will this actually get approved?

    • benevolus says:

      I reckon so. I used to have a Coke (or was it Pepsi?) bottle that I got at Graceland with an image of Elvis on it.

  3. View from Brookhaven says:

    Augusta is on the list too (Don’t you guys know your IATA codes?) and is notably the smallest of the cities.

  4. Blake says:

    I don’t understand what is supposed to be bizarre about this story. They’re trademarking the three-letter strings in relation to beer; in other words, they’re going to label one or more beers with these codes, and they don’t want anyone else doing the same thing–in relation to beer.

    That’s the thing about trademark law; you never just trademark something, you trademark it *in relation to* a class of goods/products/services. If I wanted to trademark “ATL” in relation to, I don’t know, knitting needles, there would be nothing Anheuser could do about it, because the two products don’t overlap.

    Also, when push comes to shove, common-law rights deriving from prior commercial usage generally trump subsequent USPTO trademarking–so even if Anheuser was trying to trademark “ATL” in connection with running an airport (which I don’t think is even legally possible), the fact that there is longstanding use by other parties of “ATL” in that connection would beat their registration.

    I guess it may be a little bizarre that anyone would want to name a beer after an airport.

  5. Bob Loblaw says:

    @ View From Brookhaven:

    Augusta has that little golf tournament that the entire world stops to watch every spring. Hence the AGS application.

  6. Scott65 says:

    I think the ATL trademark will only apply to their use having to do with beer. Dont confuse it with copyright (which in my opinion is a big ol’ mess in this country). Its copyrights that you have to license (if the holder wants to even license it to you)

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