Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

19 and Oh, This Warms The Heart.

Posted in General Commentary by Mike Dockins on February 22, 2008

Admittedly, the tenor of this post will be somewhat jaded. After all, this author is a native Hoosier and diehard Indianapolis Colts fan. To those that follow the NFL, you already understand why the Superbowl loss of the New England Patriots warms my heart during these frigid winter months. Enough revelry and pouring of salt in wounds.

Have we mentioned before that a trademark is a source identifier?  Yes.  Here.  And here.  And here.

It is worth repeating.  A trademark is: “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof – (1) used by a person or (2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce . . . to identify and distinguish his or her goods . . . .   In essence, a trademark is a source identifier.

Needless to say, we were confused and somewhat perplexed when we read this story from CNN about an attempt by the New England Patriots, through the Kraft Group, LLC, to obtain a trademark registration on the “trademarks” 19-0 PERFECT SEASON and 19-0.  If a trademark is a source identifier, and it is, what would these trademarks identify?Football entertainment services?  And how much use in commerce would the Patriots have?  After the next season or so, we would guess little to none.  We especially question whether these “marks” would be used in a trademark sense.  That is, as an adjective rather than in an ornamental fashion (see our previous post with a similar ornamentality discussion).

We were even FURTHER intrigued that Pat Riley was able to obtain trademark registrations for THREE-PEAT (and variations thereof).  At least Mr. Riley obtained the registrations in the name of his company, Riles and Company, and not in the name of the L.A. Lakers (The Lakers failed at their three-peat bid, by the way.).  If the applications had been filed in the name of the Lakers, it would have been peculiar to think the trademarks would be licensed to and used by the Chicago Bulls when the Bulls pulled of their three-peat (twice).  Can you imagine?  Chicago Bulls t-shirts, DVDs, and services associated with and identifying the L.A. Lakers as the source thereof. Chicago Bulls t-shirts, DVDs, and services associated with and identifying Riles and Company as the source thereof sounds a lot better.

We think the fans would agree.

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