From Techdirt, by Mike Masnick
from the i’m-sure-those-will-sell-well dept
Nine years ago we had a post about some of the ridiculousness surrounding trademarks and the Super Bowl (a popular topic this time of year). In particular, we mocked the fact that the New England Patriots had filed for some trademarks in the week before the Super Bowl. Then, as now, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl, but that year they had done it with a perfect record, winning all 16 games in the regular season and the first two playoff games to go 18-0. They were heavily favored to win the Super Bowl, and had filed for trademarks on both “Perfect Season” and “19-0.” Of course, the NY Giants came away with quite the upset and sent the Patriots home as losers. Given that, we were kind of surprised a few months later to discover that the Patriots were still seeking the trademark on “19-0,” despite the fact that its actual record for the season was a demoralizing 18-1.
I pretty much stopped following it after that and assumed that the Patriots probably gave up as well. But, no. ESPN now tells us that nine years later, the US Patent and Trademark Office has approved the trademarks. No. Really:
Though it has been nine years since the Patriots nearly achieved an undefeated season, the team just now has gotten around to trademarking “Perfect Season” and “19-0.”
The Patriots have gone through the process with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and, in December, trademarked the two slogans through their parent company, The Kraft Group, online records show.
Of course, you might wonder how the hell the Patriots can claim “use in commerce” for these, since the team didn’t have a perfect season and didn’t go 19-0.
The one complication with those two filings is that, while thousands of T-shirts were printed commemorating a perfect Patriots season, none of them were ever sold. Emblazoned with an event that didn’t occur, they instead were shipped to other countries.
The rationale for getting “Perfect Season” is even more bizarre. The Patriots claimed they “licensed” the phrase to apply to a high school championship.
Having to prove that they deserved the right to the phrase, the Patriots apparently licensed “Perfect Season” to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which produced a DVD of the 2015 state football championship game between Xaverian Brothers and Central Catholic high schools. Xaverian prevailed, winning its 24th straight game (spanning two seasons).
Voila. Use in commerce?
Of course, it still makes you wonder why the hell the Patriots still wanted to trademark 19-0. It’s not like they really have much use for it at this point. If they eventually do have a 19-0 season… well, then it’s still a dumb idea. And are the Patriots now going to seek to block any other NFL team from trying to sell T-shirts if they were to have a 19-0 season? Or are they assuming that only the Patriots could possibly ever achieve such feats?
Either way, when we first reported on the 19-0 trademark application, we noted that the NY Post had gotten snarky and filed a trademark application for 18-1. That application was eventually abandoned… as were five other similar attempts to trademark 18-1.
Except for one. As you might notice, that top one was granted. A guy named Raymond William Mort got the trademark for “World Chumps 18-1” back in 2012 (he applied right after the Super Bowl in 2008). Congrats Mr. Mort.
I’m not sure if he’s actually selling T-shirts or anything, but he did create this lovely graphic:
I’m sure it’s selling like gangbusters.
Categories: The Elite, or “TPTB”