We’ve grown accustomed to trademarks being registered for celebrity names (e.g., Katy Perry, 50 Cent) and even celebrity offspring (Blue Ivy Carter). And then there are all of those professional athletes who have trademarked their best-known moves (“Kaepernicking” anyone?). And now, as CBSSports.com reports, the trademark trend has moved on to American college football coaches.

Today’s coaching contracts often spell out how a school can use their coaches’ names, images, and likenesses. So it’s not surprising that coaches are working to protect their names by registering them as trademarks. Take for example, The University of Southern California’s football coach, Steve Sarkisian. He’s registered a trademark for “Sark” and “Coach Sark,” in several classes, including clothing, a website, and an online retail store. Sarkisian is among SportingNews“Top 15 highest paid college football coaches.”

Some other college football coaches who have registered their names as trademarks are:

Gus Malzahn, Auburn University—“Gus Bus”

Urban Meyer, The Ohio State University—“Urban Meyer” and “Urban Meyer Knows”

Dabo Swinney, Clemson University—“Dabo,” “Dabo Swinney,” and “Dabo’s All In Team”

In a landmark decision earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) couldn’t prevent college football and basketball players from selling the rights to their names and likenesses. Does this mean we’ll start to see college athletes registering their names as trademarks too?


Food fight! A Trademark Battle Over “Wingmen”

by T+B Blog Team on August 20, 2014

In case you missed it, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN television network debuted a new reality show last week called “Wingmen.” The show follows two friends from Columbia, South Carolina who sell stuffed chicken wings from a food truck. You’re probably asking, “How do you STUFF a chicken wing?” We guess you’re going to have to watch the show to find out how to work that kind of culinary magic.

The day before the show’s premiere, a Canadian reality TV producer filed a trademark infringement suit against OWN claiming that “Wingmen” violates its trademark for a show based on Canada’s leading chicken wing franchise. Rags to Rick Productions claims it created a show called “Wing-Men” that follows Rick Smiciklas, the owner of the Canadian chicken wing chain Wild Wing Restaurants. You can view the complaint here.

Smiciklas is a former mud wrestler who started his restaurant franchise in 1999. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Siciklas’ “Wing-Men” will make its online debut in December—the pilot’s viewable here. Rags to Rick Productions claims that it controls several Wing-Men-related websites, owns the Canadian trademark for Wingmen and Wing-men, and has filed applications for the marks in the United States.

This case sounds similar to another food-based reality TV show’s trademark issue. Remember the trademark challenge to TLC’s “Cake Boss”? That one was settled out of court.

Now for a look back at the use of the word “wingmen” the old-fashioned way…


It’s Nautica v. Nautigirl in Trademark Case

August 15, 2014

Tweet American clothing company Nautica has been trying to make a Bellingham, Washington company called Nautigirl Brands LLC give up its business name and logo for over a year, The Bellingham Herald reports. In January 2013, Nautigirl owner Christine Palmerton received a cease-and-desist letter from Nautica that she described as “very aggressive.” Nautica’s letter claimed […]

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Total S.A. Wins Trademark Case Against Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc.

August 13, 2014

Tweet French oil and gas company Total S.A. has emerged as the winner of a long drawn-out trademark infringement case against a Philippines company called Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc., Marketing magazine reports. The case was filed by Total S.A. back in 2011 and took three years to resolve. It was tried at the Bureau of […]

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Corsearch New gTLD Update: .Trademark In Chinese, .Hamburg & More

August 12, 2014

Tweet New gTLDs Launched/Announced  Donuts Sunrises Registry operator Donuts has announced details of its next TLDs to launch into Sunrise as follows:  New gTLD Sunrise Opens Sunrise Closes Sunrise Type Early Access Program Day 1 General Availability .HEALTHCARE 12-Aug-14 11-Oct-14 End Date Sunrise (not first-come, first-served) 15-Oct-14 22-Oct-14 .RESTAURANT 02-Sep-14 01-Nov-14 End Date Sunrise (not […]

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Tesla Motors Resolves Trademark Dispute in China

August 7, 2014

Tweet For the second time in a year, U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors, Inc. reports that it has resolved an ongoing trademark dispute in China. As we reported last year, Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng has been the owner of the trademark for the Tesla name in 12 categories, including land, air, and marine transportation vehicles, […]

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Diesel Clothing Brand Attempts To Block Computer Game Dieselstormers

August 6, 2014

Tweet Italian clothing brand Diesel is concerned that attempts by German game developer, Black Forest Games, to trademark the name Dieselstörmers could lead to trademark infringement. Diesel has filed legal opposition to Black Forest Games’ trademark for its “run-and-gun” game. The Italian brand claims the game’s name will confuse consumers since Diesel’s trademark covers products […]

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Luxury Shirtmaker Has Victoria’s Secret Trademark Battle Sewn Up

August 5, 2014

Tweet What happened when Thomas Pink, a British luxury apparel company, took legal action against Victoria’s Secret over its ‘Pink’ collection? As we previously reported, Thomas Pink filed a trademark suit in Britain against Victoria’s Secret UK Ltd back in May last year. The British-based brand, which is now owned by luxury goods company LVMH, […]

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Kanye West Defeats Coinye in Trademark Lawsuit

August 1, 2014

Tweet Kanye West has won a trademark infringement suit over virtual currency, Coinye West, since the currency company never responded to the lawsuit, according to Billboard. A U.S. District Court judge in New York ruled in favor of Kanye last week in a hidden default judgment. Back in January, West started legal action to stop […]

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Campaign Signs Temporarily Banned for Infringing on Hershey Trademark

July 31, 2014

Tweet Maryland State Senator Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. was temporarily banned from using his campaign materials because their design is similar to that of The Hershey Company’s famous chocolate, TheBaltimore Sun reports. Both the senator’s signs and the chocolate company’s logo feature a brown background with white capital letters. Because of the strong resemblance to […]

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