Trademarks have been a hot topic lately in the Ocala area.An article published by the Louisville Courier-Journal on March 28 said Lexington, Ky., could face a legal challenge if it continued to bill itself as "Horse Capital of the World" because the FTBOA owns the trademark on the slogan. The city of Lexington has about 40 signs posted declaring itself the horse capital.Hancock pursued the trademark because Ocala is one of four areas in the world that have a large concentration of horses in a small area. The other areas include Lexington, Chantilly, France, and Newmarket, England. He said he intentionally did not pursue "Thoroughbred Capital of the World" because he felt that was more appropriate to Lexington.The horse capital trademark issue became muddied when a recent editorial by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office spokesman Richard Maulsby said the FTBOA does not have exclusive rights to "Horse Capital of the World."
The association does own the trademark "Ocala/Marion County Horse Capital of the World" along with a specific design of a horse, a globe, and the slogan, according to Maulsby. The slogan "Horse Capital of the World," however, is considered laudatory, or a general term of superiority any trade may use--such as "the best" laundry soap or "the greatest" shampoo. Hancock said the issue is being reviewed by the FTBOA's patent attorney."We are more interested in protecting our marketing campaign than excluding anyone," he said. "Right now, it is a matter of the patent office making a ruling. After that, we'll see what happens. I'm leaving it up to the experts."