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Trademark Guide to the NFL Playoffs

Posted by ipelton on: January 9th, 2015

Eight teams remain in the NFL playoffs, with the conference semi-final games this weekend. More and more athletes have realized the value of their brands off the field, and I believe that a  record number of them own trademark registrations or applications today. Many players on the eight remaining team – and even coaches – have USPTO trademark applications or registrations.

Here are some of the highlights [click names/logo for USPTO records]:

 

Packers:

  • Aaron Rodgers – Endorsement services, namely, promoting the goods and services of others

Cowboys:

  • Trademark image- Sporting goods, namely, footballs

Patriots:

  • REVIS ISLAND – t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, footwear, sleepwear, swimwear
  • Trademark image[Tom Brady] – entertainment and education in the nature of on-going audio visual and multimedia interactive programming providing information on celebrities distributed over a global computer network; Clothing, namely, hats and shirts
  • WILFORK YOU UP - T-shirts

Ravens:

  • HALOTI NGATA FAMILY FOUNDATION – Charitable fundraising services by means of arranging, organizing and conducting projects, entertainment and social events; charitable services, namely, providing financial support to underprivileged and disadvantaged individuals, educational organizations and medical research organizations
  • JOE FLACCO – Entertainment in the nature of competitions in the field of athletics; Entertainment in the nature of football games; Entertainment in the nature of football games; Entertainment services, namely, participation in promoting charities; Entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a football player; and more
  • Trademark image & LACE UP SON – [Steve Smith] Charitable fundraising services by means of running and walking events

Colts:

  • CHUCKSTRONG – Charitable fundraising to support cancer research and procedures

Panthers:

  • Trademark image & CAM NEWTON – Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing associated with a professional sports athlete, namely, sports caps and hats, sports pants, sports shirts, baseball caps, caps, fleece pullovers, fleece tops, footwear, hats, headwear for winter and summer, hooded pullovers, hooded sweat shirts, knitted caps, athletic shoes, long sleeve pullovers, moisture-wicking sports shirts, pants, pullovers, shirts, shoes, socks, sweat shirts, sweat pants, T-shirts, tee shirts, tops
  • RIVERBOAT RON – Clothing, namely, T-shirts, sport shirts, polo shirts, knit shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts, sports caps and hats
  • RON RIVERA – Educational and entertainment services, namely, providing coaching in the sport of football, motivational speaking in the field of sports and leadership, and educational speaking in the field of sports and leadership

Seahawks:

  • BEAST MODE – t-shirts
  • DANGERUSS WILSON – Entertainment services, namely, live, televised and movie appearances by a professional entertainer; Entertainment services, namely, participation in professional football; Entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a professional athlete

Broncos:

  • Trademark image- charitable fund raising services

Sports announcer trademarks

Posted by ipelton on: December 11th, 2014

Recently, longtime college basketball announcer Bill Rafferty made some headlines with his applications to register some of his well known phrases. Rafferty filed to register ONIONS and WITH A KISS. The challenge with such trademarks is determining if and how they are used in commerce. Using them in the course of a broadcast while describing the play may not be a true trademark use. A trademark is fundamentally anything that identifies the source of the goods or services. Of course, it is always possible to make apparel featuring the phrase and to aply for registration of the phrase in connection with  clothing — but that is not a real true trademark use either; it is probably ornamental and weaker.

But announcer trademarks are not new, and several of them have been registered in the past. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE is the best known, and has no doubt generated a lot of revenue for its owner, Michael Buffer. Here are a few other registered announcer trademarks, many of which are also from boxing announcers:

 

 

 

Minor league baseballs teams are a hotbed for creative branding and logos (El Paso Chihuahuas, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Richmond Flying Squirrels, etc.). The San Antonio Missions are no exception. This doulbe-A affiliate of the Padres unveiled new uniforms and logos last month.

According to a story on milb.com, the new “M” logo features a mission bell ringing; and the primary logo features a baseball shooting across the bottom, which represents cannon fire from the Alamo.

The artwork for the logos is nice — mostly with a modern update of a classic feel. Nothing too outrageous or bold or different. And the “SA” logos feature a coonskin cap, ala Davey Crocket, and a hot pepper! And apparently the team sports a mascot named “Henry the Puffy Taco!” And his sidekick is “Ballapeño” the baseball-playing jalapeno!

All in all, a fun creative brand with suggestive logos and brand name. Well done, Missions!

One significant critique of the new branding, however: no USPTO trademark filings to help protect the new logos or the mascots. Although the MISSIONS name is registered.

Image via milb.com

I certainly do not understand the full impact of the judge’s decision late Friday in the case by Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA. If players now have more control over the names (and images and likenesses) and a right to profit from them, it seems to me that they might be able to file trademarks to protect those names.  Why is that important?  Because when they don’t file trademark applications others often do in their place. And that makes it more complicated and more expensive for the player’s to protect their brands and to resolve the disputes that are created by the third-party trademark filings.

For example, at least one trademark application sought to protect JOHNNY FOOTBALL in reference to Johnny Manziel while he was still playing in college. The first application for JOHNNY FOOTBALL at the USPTO, filed by Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, LP in October of 2012.  In October 2013, someone filed a USPTO application for “Famous Jameis,” a reference to the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston.

The recent court ruling (certainly it will be appealed) could open the door for college athletes that are stars and brands to file for trademark registration with the USPTO to provide proper protection for those brands.

 

“Johnny Manziel in Kyle Field” by Shutterbug459 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johnny_Manziel_in_Kyle_Field.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Johnny_Manziel_in_Kyle_Field.jpg

As long time readers know, I love non-traditional trademarks.  Goats on a roof, ducks marching, lighting, facial make-up configurations, sounds, shapes, and more. Add to the list of my favorite non-traditional trademarks:

a crowd cheering the following words “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!”

The marks has been registered by the University of Arkansas. To my knowledge, it is the first “crowd cheer” registered. It does beg the question of how does the university assert ownership of the trademark? Does the University control use of the trademark? Do they enforce unauthorized users? And did the University originate the cheer, or did some fan?

USPTO record for Registration No. 4558864

The original evidence of use submitted by the university is a video of fans performing the cheer

Will other schools jump on the cheer trademark bandwagon?

Related post:Interesting college football trademarks: mascots, uniforms, end zones, turf color, and a cheer