The New York Times today has a good article about the increasing number of professional athletes who have taken steps to protect their trademarks. Slogans or catchphrases can be big money for the selling of merchandise, reality shows, or other goods and services. As noted in the Times article, there appears to be a trend of stars who have protected their brands and trademarks.

This should come as no surprise – the business of sports is bigger than ever and the money at stake is enormous.

As noted by the Times (and by me here) Pat Riley was one of the first to protect a sports phrase – THREE-PEAT®. And Nike and other apparel and equipment manufacturers have been proactive for at least 20 years filing to protect the brands associated with stars they promote, such as Air Jordan and Lebron James.

Here are links to the US Patent and Trademark Office records for some of the sports trademarks noted in the article:

The difficulty protecting some of these trademarks is identifying the proper goods or services with which they are used. A catchphrase does not become a trademark until it is used to promote or sell something. Sports star logos or phrases are often connected to charitable services, apparel, or entertainment.

Here are a few other sports star trademarks:

  • DREW DAT from Drew Brees.
  • BRETT FAVRE registered for variety of goods and services.
  • Tom Brady 12 logo.
  • Tiger Woods fist-pump image (for use with beverages).
  • Reggie Jackson really is MR. OCTOBER! a registered trademark.
  • LEBRON® is owned by Nike.
  • SHAQ is owned by Mine o’ Mine Inc.
  • JETER logo by Nike

Do you have a favorite sports star trademark slogan?

Tip: Does your business promote itself with a catchy slogan? Have you protected it?

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