Can you feel it? All around the country, fields are being groomed, stenciled, and painted. Tonight, the college football season begins with Georgia State taking on Abilene Christian in what could be a preview of one of hundreds of games that most of us don’t really care about. But like so many fans around the country, I’ll probably still watch it, at least for a quarter: I missed you Football.
Football certainly hasn’t been gone from the news though, as lawsuits addressing scholarships, unions, and additional antitrust violations have all made headlines. But one headline caught my attention, an article discussing the University of Southern California’s head coach Steve Sarkisian filing a U.S. Trademark Application for his moniker SARK. Sark joins a number of other college football coaches who have applied to register their names.
Just last month, we covered the University of Arkansas’s registration of the SOOOIE RAZORBACK cheer. There was also the Oregon/Oregon State CIVIL WAR, too. This got me wondering, if trademark law can protect coach names, chants, and intrastate rivalry games, what other fun ways can I think about work while watching football?
How about stadiums?
Check. Well, technically only the turf is claimed as a feature of the mark. Steve discussed this registration back in 2009. Also, the red version for Eastern Washington. Not the stadium itself. But still.
And speaking of uniforms, if you were considering launching a business that sold perfume or deodorant in the form of a football jersey, well. Don’t. Not just because its a terrible idea, but because you might be infringing on the trademark registration below:
And since we’re on the subject of product trade dress, don’t forget about football shaped brownies:
And you definitely won’t want to forget about your football shaped “alcoholic beverages except beers:”
And let’s see if you can guess what kind of goods or services this is a trademark for:
Yes, it’s a kicking tee. And yes, it’s registered on the Principal Register in connection with kicking tees. How? Well, apparently, the texture on the tee is so unique that it has acquired distinctiveness in the minds of consumers as identifying a particular source. Right.
There’s even a trademark registration for this logo:
Which is apparently in no way associated with this registered trademark of Nike:
Or how about this trademark:
Yep, that yellow line is a trademark of Sportsvision. Martha covered that here around Super Bowl time – Oh, sorry Roger – The Big Game time.
And if you’re attending a game at Texas A&M, not only will you be surrounded by trademarks, but you will BE a trademark, way to go 12TH MAN®!
There are certainly many more that we could cover, but I think it is pretty clear that this Saturday, whether you’re in the stadium, on the LA-Z-BOY® at home, or at the BLUE 42 SPORTS GRILL in Winter Garden Florida, you will be surrounded by trademarks. And football. Glorious, but possibly not-very-competitive, football. Enjoy it! – I know I will (GO HAWKS!!).