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A roundup of recent trademark related items – many related to today’s game – followed by my Super Bowl® prediction which, as you will, is based on actual evidence indicating a jinx.

  • Terrible Towel®: Today’s Wall Street Journal features a story about the legendary Pittsburgh Terrible Towel and its origin, broadcaster Myron Cope. However, the article fails to note that part of the success, from a business perspective, is that the name was properly protected via trademark registration meaning only authorized licensees can make Terrible Towel® towels and merchandise. Impostors cannot use the brand name, which makes their products far less desirable.
    • Terrible Towel image

      Official Terrible Towel from steelers.com

  • 297/Favre: The trademark applications containing the number 297  filed by the Vikings just minutes after Brett Favre’s streak ended at 297 games were subsequently abandoned by the team. Was there a dispute with Mr. Favre as to who owned the rights? I’m not sure, but I do know that Favre’s website sells some 297 merchandise.
  • Avoiding the NFL’s wrath: I was quoted in an article on TheStreet.com this week about what small businesses promoting events related to the big game can do to avoid getting in trouble from the NFL.
  • PALIN trademarks: 1 day after I tweeted about Sarah and Bristol Palin trademark applications, the ASSOCIATED PRESS and FOX NEWS (on a blog) ran items about the trademarks without crediting me for the information. Of course, this is public information, but the applications were filed months ago and their pieces coincidentally appeared a day after my tweets. [Dear AP and Fox News, please note how I easily linked back to your sites.]
    • Update: It appears first news source to pick up the story was Politics Daily, but the timing still looks interesting.
  • SUPER BOWL Trademark Jinx! Teams vying for a sports championship that seek trademark protection for marks that tempt fate by presuming victory in the weeks and months leading up the game may be jinked. As a result, I predict the Packers, who have filed for TITLETOWN for a wide variety of goods and services, will lose the game.
    • The Patriots attempt filed for 19-0 THE PERFECT SEASON two weeks before Super Bowl XLII, which they subsequently lost. Hat tip to TTABlog for coverage and for first identifying the jinx. [Disclaimer: I represented client in dispute with Patriots regarding this mark.]
    • Perhaps the jinx extends even further, to trademark filings that are not celebratory? The Texas Rangers filed several marks in the months leading up to the World Series and lost. The University of Oregon filed to register OREGON DUCKS for the first time weeks before the BCS title game this year and lost.
    • TITLETOWN applications filed by Green Bay Packers, Inc. in November  2010:
      • 85185942: Advertising of commercial or residential real estate; Event planning and management for marketing, branding, promoting or advertising the goods and services of others; Managing and operating resort hotels and business conference centers of others; Negotiation and renegotiation for others of leases and subleases and real estate purchase agreements; Providing real estate leads for prospective purchasers; Real estate advertising services; Real estate sales management
      • 85185941: Arranging of leases and rental agreements for real estate; Assessment and management of real estate; Leasing of real estate; Real estate acquisition services; Real estate management services; Real estate services, namely, rental, brokerage, leasing and management of commercial property, offices and office space
      • 85185938: Real estate development
      • 85184669: Parking lot services; Provision of car parking facilities
      • 85184666: Concert booking; entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting an array of athletic events rendered live and recorded for the purpose of distribution through broadcast media; museum services; providing recreation facilities; rental of recreational facilities for playing sports, sports training, and group recreation events; management and operation of football-related museum
      • 85184656: Arena services, namely, providing facilities for sports, concerts, conventions and exhibitions; Hotel, bar and restaurant services
      • Note, the Packers already own registration for TITLETOWN, U.S.A.

    • Is there really a trademark jinx? We’ll find out on Sunday night!

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