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Tonight, LSU and Alabama will play for the college football championship, formally known as the BCS National Championship. I don’t know which team will win the game, but I do know which team has done a better job protecting its brand and its trademarks. Alabama has protected far more – including having crimson jerseys with white numbers. See below for more details.

There are many trademarks involved in the title game! Here are just a few:

  • The game will be played in New Orleans at the SUPERDOME. Curiously, the Superdome name (officially now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) is not registered with the USPTO. “LOUISIANA SUPERDOME” was once registered but the registration was not renewed in 2003.[From ESPN.com: The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the largest indoor football stadium in the country and Louisiana’s most recognizable structure. Opened in 1975 as the Louisiana Superdome, it is home to the New Orleans Saints and Tulane Green Wave. The Superdome has hosted six Super Bowls and will host Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.]

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

  • The title game for the Bowl Champtionship Series is the “BCS National Championship.” The name is boring. The title game logo is boring. The title game logo and the acronym BCS are not registered trademarks. The crystal trophy is not a registered trademark. Given the attention and dollars spent on this game, it is a wonder that the brand is not better protected!
  • BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – registered for “Entertainment services in the nature of television and radio sports programs featuring college football games, exhibitions and tournaments; entertainment services, namely, organizing and staging college football games, exhibitions and tournaments; and providing entertainment, information, news and programming, all in the field of sports via the internet” and a variety of goods
  • BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – registered for “Entertainment services in the nature of television and radio sports programs featuring college football games, exhibitions and tournaments; entertainment services, namely, organizing and staging college football games, exhibitions and tournaments; and providing entertainment, information, news and programming, all in the field of sports via the Internet”

LSU Tigers – LSU owns a few trademarks and logos:

    • LSU – registered for “Educational Services-Namely, Providing Instruction at the College Level” and a variety of goods
    • Louisiana State University – registered for “Educational services, namely, providing instruction at the college level and entertainment services, namely, providing theatrical productions and athletic events, namely, football games, basketball games, baseball games, soccer games, softball games, swimming meets, track meets, golf matches, tennis matches, volleyball matches and gymnastics competitions” and a variety of goods
    • – registered for “Educational services, namely, providing courses of instruction at the college level, entertainment services, namely, providing theatrical productions, and athletic events, namely, sports camps, arranging and conducting athletic competitions, namely, football games, basketball games, baseball games, soccer games, softball games, swimming meets, track meets, golf matches, tennis matches, volleyball matches and gymnastics competitions” and a variety of goods
    • – pending application for “Entertainment services, namely, providing athletic events, namely, sports camps, arranging and conducting athletic competitions, namely, football games, basketball games, baseball games, soccer games, softball games, swimming meets, track meets, golf matches, tennis matches, volleyball matches and gymnastics competitions; all of the foregoing in a university or collegiate sports context” and a variety of goods
    • LSU Tigers – pending application for “basketball games, baseball games, soccer games, softball games, swimming meets, track meets, golf matches, tennis matches, volleyball matches and gymnastics competitions; all the foregoing in a university context or collegiate sports context”
    • Geaux Tigers – pending application for a variety of goods

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

    • [Description of Mark: The mark consists of the product configuration of a collegiate football jersey, which includes the color combination of a crimson red jersey with white numbers, with the white numbers appearing on the chest and the crimson red covering the entire outer surface of the jersey. The broken lines of the drawing show the position of the colors and the numbers on the goods and form no part of the mark, serving as a positional reference only.] Registered for jerseys and “Entertainment and educational services, namely, providing courses of instruction at the university level; educational research; arranging and conducting athletic competitions, events, tournaments, and exhibitions”
    • – registered for helmets and for “Entertainment and educational services, namely, providing courses of instruction at the university level; educational research; arranging and conducting athletic competitions, events, tournaments, and exhibitions”
    • – registered for a variety of goods
    • – registered for “EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, NAMELY, UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE, GRADUATE, EXTENSION, AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION, PUBLIC LECTURES, AND WORKSHOPS, SEMINARS, AND CONFERENCES CONDUCTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING” and a variety of goods
    • – registered for a variety of goods
    • CRIMSON TIDE – registered for a variety of goods
    • ROLL TIDE – registered for a variety of goods
    • BAMA – registered for a variety of goods
    • ALABAMA – registered for a variety of goods
    • UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA – registered for “EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, NAMELY, UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE, GRADUATE, EXTENSION, AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION, PUBLIC LECTURES, AND WORKSHOPS, SEMINARS, AND CONFERENCES; ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, NAMELY, SPORTS EXHIBITIONS, THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, PUBLIC LECTURES, ART EXHIBITIONS, MUSICAL CONCERTS, DANCE AND BALLET PERFORMANCES, AND MOTION PICTURE EXHIBITIONS” and a variety of goods

HONEY BADGER

    • One of the stars of LSU’s team is cornerback Tyrann Mathieu who is nicknamed the “honey badger.” Why? The honey badger animal was named the most fearless animal on earth by Guiness Book of World Records. See video below.
    • As a result of this popularity, more than 10 trademark applications were filed in 2011 featuring “HONEY BADGER.”  As far as I can tell, none are owned by Mathieu.
    • Who owns the rights to the nickname? Anyone? For football services? The team? The player, a “student athlete” according to the NCAA?
    • Here are some the pending applications (none are registered yet):
      • HONEY BADGER AT LAW – legal services
      • Honey Badger – Nutritional supplements in the form of liquid and powder; Non-alcoholic beverages, namely, carbonated beverages, concentrates, syrups or powders used in making soft drinks; carbonated and non-carbonated drinks enhanced with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, proteins, amino acids and/or herbs; carbonated and non-carbonated energy drinks and sports drinks; concentrates, syrups or powders used in making energy drinks and sports drinks
      • HONEY BADGER DON’T CARE – Clothing, namely, t-shirts, tank tops, onesies; Long-sleeve shirts, caps; and pajamas
      • Honey Badger – a long list of goods and services
      • Honey Badger Racing – decals and shirts
      •  – decals; Athletic apparel, namely, shirts, pants, jackets, footwear, hats and caps, athletic uniforms
      • HONEY BADGER – Clothing, namely, tops, bottoms, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweatshirts, hats, jackets

Alabama has done a great job protecting all the elements of its brand – names, logos, uniform, helmet, mascot, etc. LSU has protected the bare essentials, but not much else. If the game were a battle of trademarks, Alabama would come out on top.

 

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