The Detroit Lions have registered the phrase Defend the Den. This is part of what appears to be a growing movement in college and professional sports to trademark common or more particular phrases used at their sporting events.
The Seahawks have been registering just about everything it can that deals with the number 12 – The 12s, We Are 12, Spirit of 12, and 12 itself. 12 or the 12th man is a common reference to the influence of the fans on a football game. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Texas A&M beat them to the punch and registered the 12th Man in 2007. Seattle now uses the phrase under license.
Perhaps this is what is driving the push to register such phrases. Teams are worried that someone else will sneak in and attempt to prevent them from using a term at their games. To avoid this, they are racing to trademark terms first. The Seahawks, for their part, appear concerned about being able to use “Boom” and “Legion of Boom” as well.
It seems that policing some of these marks would be rather difficult. Defend the Den, for example, is used by a number of schools and teams with lions, bears, or other similar den dwelling animals as mascots. The Billings Wolves, Montana State University Bobcats, Hershey Bears, and Blake School in Minnesota, among others, all make use of the phrase “Defend the Den” based on a quick Google search. While trying to enforce rights against a minor league hockey team in Pennsylvania may not create much of a public image problem for the Detroit Lions, enforcing them against a school in Minnesota may leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.