The business of college football is big. At a time when the upper level conferences are seeking to break away from the NCAA to consolidate TV revenue and power, the money surrounding college football has never been greater. And unlike professional sports where the elite players are the stars, in college football the most identifiable representative of a particular university is often the coach.
Sports chants seem to be all the rage lately. This summer, the US Men’s National Soccer Team chant “I Believe That We Will Win!” became a surprise hit at the World Cup tournament in Brazil. In addition, universities across the country are preparing for crowd chants and cheers as the college football season approaches. As the popularity of these chants increase, it’s not too surprising that people are starting to think about commercially protecting these cheers. Several groups are going about this through trademark registration.
We recently posted an article discussing the University of Alabama’s efforts to enforce their trademark registrations. The story involved a small bakery that makes cookies using the University’s “A” logo. The University of Alabama contracts with Collegiate Licensing Co. to police their trademark portfolio. Collegiate recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to this small bakery in Northport, Alabama. The letter ordered the bakery to stop selling products that contained the University’s trademarks. The University of Alabama has a trademark registration covering its “A” logo.
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.
The previous Trademark Access blog post discussed a trademark infringement suit between two baseball glove manufacturers. Rawlings Sporting Goods sponsors the “Rawlings Gold Glove Award” baseball glove manufacturers. Rawlings Sporting Goods sponsors the “Rawlings Gold Glove Award” and owns a US trademark registration for that phrase. Rawlings brought suit against Wilson Sporting Goods claiming that Wilson was creating confusion in the marketplace by outfitting a professional baseball player with a gold glove and thereby infringing on Rawlings’s trademark. In a trademark infringement case like this one, one of the major factors that a court would look at is how similar the goods associated with the marks are to each other. If the goods are unrelated, it is less likely there will be any confusion about the source of goods and less likely there will be infringement.
If you are a baseball fan, you are probably familiar with the Gold Glove award that is given annually to one player at each position for outstanding field play. But did you know that the Gold Glove is not actually given out by Major League Baseball, but is awarded by the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings? In fact, Rawlings is the registered owner of US Trademark Registration No. 1,945,584 which covers the phrase “Rawlings Gold Glove Award.