Sea Tow recently received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a certificate of registration establishing that the color yellow meets all requirements for federal trademark and registration and affirming Sea Tow's exclusive right to use the color yellow in connection with its marine assistance service in the U.S., the organization announced.
"This is a major victory for Sea Tow and one that has been hard fought over the years," Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow's founder and CEO, said in a statement. "This historic trademark registration protects our brand and franchise owners nationwide against imitators and imposters. It assures boaters that the yellow-hulled boat responding to them is, in fact, a skilled, experienced, insured and U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional Sea Tow provider."
Sea Tow has actively promoted the color yellow as a brand identifier and won several court battles against "copycat" marine assistance providers that have used the color yellow on their vessels' hulls in an attempt to confuse boaters into thinking they are affiliated with Sea Tow.
Those successful cases set the stage for Sea Tow's ultimate trademark victory.
The registration covers the use of the color yellow for emergency and non-emergency transportation by boats; diving and underwater salvage; marine salvage; vessel salvage; boat delivery, namely towing by boat; and delivery of fuel and other supplies by boat.
Only boats operated by Sea Tow and/or its franchisees have the exclusive right to use boats with yellow hulls while performing these services.