The erosion of ‘OBX’ and the importance of distinctive trademarks

'OBX' productsBy now, you likely know that “OBX” is commonly understood to refer to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and that the placement of the oval black on white OBX sticker on a vehicle suggests that its owner vacations on the Outer Banks, once visited the Outer Banks, dreams of visiting the Outer Banks, or just likes to sport the image of the Outer Banks. And perhaps, noticing how many people have these stickers or other items bearing the OBX emblem, you found yourself thinking, “I wish I owned that trademark.” But its story is not without a painful lesson for all trademark owners.

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