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297! Who owns the right to profit from Brett Favre’s streak?

Posted by admin on: December 17th, 2010

photo from ESPN.com

Apparently the Minnesota Vikings believe that they own the rights to profit from the streak – or at least from the marketable number it created – 297. On Monday evening earlier this week, while Brett Favre watched his team play from the sidelines for the first time in 298 regular season games, attorneys for the Vikings were filing three US trademark applications based on a bona fide intent to use the following marks (click links for USPTO records):

  • 297 (Application Serial No. 85196936, filed at 9:11 EST)
  • FAVRELOUS STREAK 297 (Application Serial No. 85196942, filed at 9:20 EST)
  • FAVRELOUS 297 (Application Serial No. 85196955, filed at 9:49 EST)

Each application was filed for use in connection with:

Entertainment services, namely, presentations in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions ; Beverage glassware, cups, mugs, bottle openers, foam drink holders, insulated sleeve holders for beverage cans, neoprene zippered bottle holders, ice buckets and beer buckets; Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, namely, fleece tops and bottoms, caps, visors, headwear, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, tank tops, sweaters, pants, jackets, turtlenecks, golf shirts, woven shirts, knit shirts, jerseys, wristbands, warm up suits, swimwear, wind resistant jackets, raincoats, parkas, ponchos, gloves, ties, suspenders, belts, cloth baby bibs, sleepwear, namely, robes, night shirts and pajamas, mittens, knit hats and caps, scarves, aprons, headbands, ear muffs, underwear, socks, shoes, athletic shoes, boots, sneakers and slippers

Perhaps this is why the Vikings were willing to give Favre millions of dollars to play this season – so they could sell baby bibs with “297” across them!

The USPTO filings raise a few questions:

  • Absent some kind of agreement, who should be able to profit from selling products featuring the number 297?
    • Favre
    • the Vikings
    • the NFL
    • the NFL Players Association
    • anyone
  • In order to quality for registration of a trademark on the Principal Register, a mark must indicate the source of the goods or services and not be merely ornamental. Will bottle openers featuring “Favrelous 297” on them indicate that Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC is the source of the products?
  • Will the Vikings try to stop others from making or selling shirts that use the number 297 on them in connection with Favre or football or the color purple? Just a guess, but I think they will try.

The official Vikings merchandise website is already featuring a FAVRE 297 SALE! Note that at this time, they are not using a TM or SM next to 297 to indicate any claim of trademark rights.

 

vikingsfanshop.com - Brett Favre 297 Sale

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Pelton. Erik Pelton said: @FootballExpert Vikings claimed ownership of 297 before Pats – during 1st half of the MNF game! http://ow.ly/3rlsY […]

  2. Mark Malek says:

    Great article Eric. Thanks!