The Name Game: Now College Football Coaches Seek Trademarks

by T+B Blog Team on August 22, 2014

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 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?

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