Apr 15, 2024 - News

Explaining the Hudson's trademark journey

The top of the Hudson's site tower. Photo: Courtesy of Bedrock

The top of the Hudson's site tower. Photo: Courtesy of Bedrock

Bedrock announced the historic name Hudson's as the official moniker for its Woodward Avenue development on Friday, but its trademark application is still in limbo.

Why it matters: Observers were pretty sure the highly anticipated $1.4 billion tower on the iconic old department store site downtown would incorporate Hudson's into its official name.

  • But the application that Bedrock, Dan Gilbert's real estate arm, made to federally register the "Hudson's Detroit" trademark was suspended.

However, that doesn't mean Bedrock can't use it. We're here to explain the complex trademark process at play, considering the news of the development getting its official name.

Catch up quick: The Hudson's site development has faced challenges registering a federal trademark it applied for in September.

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) initially rejected Bedrock's trademark application — in part because of a "likelihood of confusion" with other trademarks.
  • Bedrock's team replied in early March to appeal the rejection and was awaiting a reply.

The latest: The application was suspended in late March to await an update with a previous "Hudson" trademark that could cause confusion. Bedrock's team recently asked the USPTO to take another look and take it out of suspension.

  • The trademark, from 2013, is owned by a company from Brooklyn, New York.

The intrigue: You don't have to register a trademark — words, symbols, designs or any combination that identifies your goods or services — with the USPTO to have one.

  • You get limited rights when you start using your trademark. But federal trademark registration provides "stronger, nationwide rights" and interstate protections, per the USPTO website.

So, even if Bedrock's application were rejected, it's not a barrier to using "Hudson's Detroit."

  • Bedrock didn't respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the 685-foot-tall Hudson's skyscraper, the second highest in the state, held its "topping out" ceremony last week, Crain's reported. That means the tallest, final length of structural steel was installed.

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