Press Release from PR NEWSWIRE
published October 12, 2006
as public record
Los Angeles Times Editorial Jan. 31,
Huntington Beach is Surf City USA
Though the town may have won the title,
it only hurt itself in its trademark
battle with a Santa Cruz shop.
January 31, 2008
If Huntington Beach won the big "Surf
City" battle against a Santa Cruz
beachwear shop, how did it end up
looking like the 98-pound weakling with
sand all over its face?
The notion was quaint from the start:
that the Huntington Beach visitor's
bureau could bring in major tourist
money by trademarking the name "Surf
City USA," pulled loosely from the title
of a 1963 Jan and Dean hit. Actually,
the trademark conflates "Surf City" and
the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" -- which
mentions Santa Cruz as a hot surfer
spot, but not Huntington Beach. (Trademarking
"Surf City" would be a near
impossibility, as towns in New Jersey
and North Carolina officially hold the
In any case, the label hardly puts
Huntington Beach at the cutting edge of
surfer cool, though it might pull in a
few graying listeners of K-Earth 101.
That didn't stop the visitor's bureau
from going after Noland's on the Wharf
in Santa Cruz for selling -- along with
fossilized shark teeth and model woodies
-- T-shirts that said something long and
complicated, including the phrases "Surf
City" and "USA."
Protecting a valuable trademark is a
worthwhile pursuit. But what are the
Huntington Beach folks thinking -- that
Santa Cruz T-shirts are somehow
detracting from sales in Orange County?
They seem to envision "Surf City USA"
taking tourists by storm, such a hot
brand that street peddlers would sell
counterfeits just over the city line in
Westminster, along with the fake Rolex
watches. Watch your back, Quiksilver.
The ensuing trademark battle transformed
a friendly rivalry between the two
cities into a bitter little squall that
finally ended with Noland's agreeing to
add one word -- "original" -- to its
What a deal. Huntington Beach gets the
dated trademark and a rep for being a
bad sport that tried to monopolize
surfing legend for a buck. And the real
winner is: Noland's, which has gotten
free national publicity -- and public
sympathy -- it couldn't have afforded in
a decade of surf-tchotchke sales. Soon,
it gets the marketing push of unveiling
its new shirts.
The visitor's bureau has reportedly
spent half a million dollars to promote
its trademark. So far, the investment
has been worth every penny -- to a
beachwear shop in Santa Cruz. As for
boosting Huntington Beach tourism, the
money might have been better spent
finding two girls for every boy.
synopsis of the lawsuit .