Tim Tebow is many things. He is an athlete, an advocate, a Heisman trophy winner, and now it looks like he will be a trademark registration owner. A trademark application for the term “Tebowingg” recently survived the 30 day opposition period provided after a trademark publishes. The trademark application should proceed to registration, which will entitle XV Enterprises, a company solely owned by Tim Tebow, to the exclusive rights to use the mark “Tebowing” in commerce in connection with the sale of hats, shirts, and t-shirts.
Shortly after singer Beyoncé gave birth to daughter Blue Ivy Carter in January, the new mother and father, rapper Jay-Z, did something most parents never do. They filed a trademark application on the name of their child. When the parents are two of the most successful musicians on the planet, it seems that even the birth of their first child doesn’t slow down business. It may seem like a smart thing to do, because other people might try to beat them to the trademark office to potentially use the mark as leverage. For example, third parties might try to use the mark in ways that negatively affect their brand or try to sell the mark to them at an exorbitant price. News reports have come out suggesting that they have lost their battle over the trademark. (Click here to see Rolling Stone article.) While it’s true that Beyoncé and Jay-Z will not have have exclusive rights to use the term Blue Ivy, they haven’t lost their rights all together. The couple’s trademark application is still pending before the US Patent and Trademark Office and recently published for opposition. (Click here to see Notice of Publication from the USPTO.) So long as there is no one with senior rights to the same mark for the same or similar goods, their trademark registration application should survive the opposition period.
If you write a book, you own the copyright to the book and this protects you from the theft of your intellectual property. If you invent something, you get a patent and this serves as protection in case somebody wants to steal your invention. The same thing applies to the trademark to some extent. In simple terms, a trademark can be described as a unique distinguishing feature of a company or a business. The trademark protects the business owner the same way the copyright protects the writer. This means that if you file trademark papers you will be protecting your business logo and your brand from creative theft.
Business owners are usually big picture and entrepreneurial persons. Successful business owners typically have a thousand and one things they are working on at the same time. However, they are not successful because they over-schedule themselves. To be successful they cannot afford to know every detail and certainly cannot afford to acquire every skill needed to run a business. That is why they hire trusted professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, and IT professionals.
Your business plan is set. You’ve thought long and hard about what your business name should be. Now you’re ready to trademark your business name. You begin your trademark application and lo and behold there are two options for filing your trademark – standard character mark and stylized/design mark. So which should you choose? If you aren’t concerned about protecting any distinct look or style for your business name, then you might consider going with the former. If you have a logo or a stylized font or script that you want to use together with your name, then you might consider the latter option. Of course, there is more to the decision than merely deciding if you only need to protect a word or slogan or if you also need to protect design aspects of your trademark; so you should seek the advice of a seasoned trademark lawyer.
Clients often ask if they can file for a trademark registration before they actually use their mark in commerce. The question usually comes up when they realize the way they have been using their mark may not technically constitute trademark usage. The short answer to this question is yes. Under the U.S. Trademark Act, Section 1(b) (i.e., 15 U.S.C. 1051(b)), it is permissible to file a trademark registration application before actually using a mark.
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).