-Martha Engel, Attorney
Although I’m an avid sports fan, I rarely watch soccer and quite frankly I also rarely watch women’s professional sports. I have some very logical reasons for my avoidance of soccer (in what other sport does the clock tick up and “extra minutes” are then magically tacked onto the end, no matter the score) and women’s professional sports (have you tried to watch an Azarenka tennis match?).
But on Sunday night, I found myself on the couch in the final minutes of the Women’s World Cup match holding onto a belief that they would win. Oh no there it was again… “I Believe That We Will Win” stuck right back into my head where it thankfully had vanished since last summer’s Men’s World Cup hoopla. Around this time last year, Tim and I wrote a couple posts on the trademark issues surrounding the I BELIEVE and the chant (see here and here). We probably could have written even a few more. There were a couple colleges fighting among each other, as well as many filings incorporating I BELIEVE and I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN by individuals and companies seeking to use the mark. So what about the Women’s World Cup? They went with…#SHEBELIEVES.
In the often egocentric world of sports (no examples needed), it was interesting to see the US Women’s team on a global stage stand behind the outward slogan “She Believes” to advance the goals and dreams of other women and young girls. The team encouraged social media posts with the hashtag #SHEBELIEVES with women posting photos and tweets about their goals and dreams.
Even with all the attention to this, there are no trademark filings for SHE BELIEVES or #SHEBELIEVES. Now as I write this post, it is the Monday after the Women’s Cup Final, and so maybe something was filed today, but the Women’s World Cup has been going on for weeks. And no filings. Nothing from the US Soccer organization, nothing from a Jane Doe down the street. Nothing? To the extent any filing even incorporates SHE BELIEVES, the only one is for AND AS SHE BELIEVES, SO IT IS FOR HER for various clothing by Girl Power, Inc. registered over six years ago. Pretty surprising to see that nothing was filed in the last month – especially with growing popularity for soccer in the US and the women’s team’s success.
Can you imagine what a world this would be if every young girl or woman had a chorus of fans, family, friends, sponsors, and mentors cheering “SHE BELIEVES…”? I think we would find a lot more women scoring hat tricks in life.
How would you capitalize on SHE BELIEVES? Do you think it has some staying power? Would you have sought trademark protection for this?