Super Bowl, Harbowl and Kaepernicking – Trademark Update

The NFL is more than diligent in protecting its SUPER BOWL brand, along with the  SUPER SUNDAY brand.  With the amount of money spent on the brand, I often say more power to the NFL in protecting their rights and protecting consumers from inferior infringing products.

The NFL has stepped up their protection efforts to block trademark registrations filed a year ago by football fan Roy Fox for “Harbowl” and “Harbaugh Bowl.”   Roy was planning on a head-to-head match of brothers and coaches  Jim Harbaugh and  John Harbaugh.  Roy’s goal was pure and simple:  profit off someone’s name. This is where the trademark laws do work.  While I’m not sure the NFL was the correct party to oppose Ray’s trademark filings, either Harbaugh brother had grounds to stop a registration from being issued.  In my mind consumers would believe that either or both brothers had consented to the use of their names and/or endorsed the products that would be sold.    Both trademark applications have been abandoned.

Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback filed trademark applications for KAEPERNICKING, KAEPERNICK7,  KAP, KAP7, KAEPERNICK CK7, COLIN KAEPERNICK all in Class 025 for clothing items.  None of the marks have actually been used by Kaepernick on any clothing items.   It will be interesting to see if Colin uses the marks, or has filed the applications as a blocking mechanism so that he doesn’t have to defend his name in the event a third-party were to seek a registration.

Trademark practice pointers:

1) Before the USPTO approves an application that references a living individual, consent to registration must be on file.  If an entity or individual other the  Colin Kaepernick had signed the trademark application, an additional document confirming he is a living individual and he consents to his name being used as part of a trademark must be filed.  To save your client money – file that form with your application so you don’t have to respond to an office action down the road.

2) Every item in which Colin’s applications listed were found in the TEAS Plus application at the USPTO.  The filing fee for a TEAS Plus application is $275 per class as compared to the $325 filing fee for using a TEAS application.  Not only does using the TEAS Plus form save money; it also expedites the review process by the examiner.

About Tamera Bennett

Tamera Bennett, nicknamed by her clients as the IP quarterback, develops strategies to protect and leverage each client's intellectual property. She works closely with her clients to implement customized brand management programs. Her clients range from rock star to leadership coach and financial guru to custom motorcycle designer. Prepared with an undergraduate degree in Recording Industry Studies and a law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Tamera represents clients throughout Texas and Tennessee in entertainment, trademark and copyright law related matters View all posts by Tamera Bennett

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