What Happens in Nastygrams…
Steve Middlebrook passed along this story about the slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Dorothy Tovar liked the phrase so much, she put it on T-shirts and registered a trademark in it. Then, she got the nasty letter from a representative of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which had used the phrase “what happens here, stays here.”
If the convention authority has a trademark in that phrase, perhaps the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” on T-shirts gets too close to the line. But the article gives other examples of recipients of nasty letters: “What Happens in Cancun,” “What Happens in New Orleans” and a brewery for using the phrase “What’s Brewed Here Stays Here.” I think it would be a stretch of trademark law to think that the Las Vegas convention authority owns every variation of “what happens X stays X,” especially given the authority’s obvious geographic link to Las Vegas. It’s beyond a stretch to think they own variations of “what X here stays here.”
Another article on the topic.
UPDATE: The LA Times runs a good story about the “What happens here stays here”/”What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” trademark dispute.