Fight the Commodification of Culture!

BREAKING: A copy of the trademark has been shared with me (below), confirming that the word “Bula” has now been trademarked to one man. The intention is for other people to not be able to use the word “Bula” – a Fijian greeting – in the names of their bars and potentially their vending operations.


It has come to my attention that the owner of “Bula on the Beach,” Ross Kashtan, has decided to TRADEMARK the Fijian word “Bula.”

This is completely unacceptable appropriation of another culure’s language. It reeks of colonialism and piracy.

I have verified that he has been granted the trademark by the US Government. Here is a post on Facebook from the group ‘Awa Koa ‘Awa Strong concerning the issue:

41767646_527877647625810_394497900098355200_n.jpgBoycott, protest, spread the word. Let the good people of the Pacific know that this guy is trying to trademark their language.




  1. He’s protecting his brand so no future kava bars can call themselves Bula so that if that bar was to do anything wrong or illegal it cant smear his business. Everyone can still say the word Bula they just cant name their bar bula. It’s just as if some company like Starbucks patenting their name so no future coffee places can use their name. It’s a smart business move to protect his brand of kava bars. Hes not stopping anyone from using the word Bula , they just cant name their bar Bula.

  2. There are already bars with “bula” in their name. This should be challenged. Period.

    Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
    Local:571-272-8500 sends e-mail)
    Chief Administrative Trademark Judge: Gerard F. Rogers

    The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board hears and decides adversary proceedings involving:

    oppositions to the registration of trademarks
    petitions to cancel trademark registrations
    proceedings involving applications for concurrent use registrations of trademarks.
    The Board also decides appeals taken from the trademark examining attorneys’ refusals to allow registration of trademarks.

    TTAB Contact Information:

    TTAB Assistance Center

    Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET

    Phone: 571-272-8500

    Email: (General Information about TTAB proceedings)
    Email: (Technical assistance with ESTTA filings)

    Official Mailing Address:
    Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
    P.O. Box 1451
    Alexandria, VA 22313-1451

    For delivery via FedEx, UPS, etc.:
    Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
    Madison East, Concourse Level Room C 55
    600 Dulany Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

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