Boise State recently licensed its blue field design to Hosei University near Tokyo, Japan. See article here. It turns out that Boise State possesses a trademark registration (U.S. Trademark re. No. 3,707,623) – which protects the color blue used on artificial turf in a stadium. Boise State’s blue stadium field trademark and licensing deal is a good example of the value of some of the more atypical forms of trademark protection and the need to think outside the box when thinking about trademark registrations.
The recent phenomenon of Linsanity has put a spotlight on the issue of whether or not you can trademark a person’s name. If you do not know what we mean by Linsanity, just check out www.linsanity.com. Jeremy Lin is the latest NBA phenomenon with an amazing underdog story who, in February 2012, led an unexpected winning streak by the New York Knicks while being promoted to the starting lineup. His sudden rise has generated a global following known as Linsanity. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Lin).
Trade names and trademarks are commonly confused by small businesses and young entrepreneurs. The confusion usually occurs because many businesses use the name of the company, at least in part, as a trademark. Reserving a company name or registering a business entity with the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations does not provide trademark rights in the registered company name. Registering a business with the Secretary of State does not provide you with a trademark registration. Assuming trademark protection from registering a business name with the state can be a costly mistake. To avoid this mistake, it is helpful to understand the difference between trademarks and trade names.