Monday, December 17, 2012
XV Enterprises: Tim Tebow Trademark
NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, as sole shareholder of XV Enterprises, has trademarked “Tebowing” both the term and the pose. The act of Tebowing, which was popularized by Tebow at the end of every touchdown play, is to get on one bended knee head bowed atop a clenched fist. This act quickly became an Internet meme and some have tried to trademark the act themselves. One such person was Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan living in New York, who started the website www.tebowing.com for the purposes of submitting photos of people Tebowing, while profiting from their acts. However, the trademark office refused Mr. Kleinstein’s request saying that the material “falsely suggests a connection with Tim Tebow.”
The purpose of the trademarking was to keep it from being abused and misconstrued by others. The religious ritual that Tebow did at every touchdown play was something personal, between him and God, and was taken by society and transformed into something called Tebowing. The main reason for the trademarking was not so he could make some extra cash from lawsuits, but to “make sure it is used in the right way.”
If Tebow can trademark his praying, “can the Catholic church trademark the praying-hands . . . the Muslims trademark their traditional poses . . . Buddhists trademark the Buddhist belly?" It appears that these religious groups could trademark these acts, but the trademark office would probably not grant these rights for three reasons. The first is that these acts do not originate from an individual or one particular entity; the second being that these acts are not considered “memes;” and finally, society as a whole does not use these terms as frequently as they do with Tebowing. For these reasons, it is very unlikely that other football players’ signature moves, such as Aaron Rodger’s championship belt, Victor Cruz’s salsa dance, or even Arian Foster’s bow could be trademarked unless these acts were religiously motivated such as Tim’s Tebow.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Judge Doty: The Player’s Best Friend?
Three weeks ago, Federal District Court Judge David Doty sided with the NFLPA when he ruled that the NFL had violated the terms of the, then in place, collective bargaining agreement. By using its extraordinary market power, the NFL was able to force the networks wishing to carry its product to agree to provisions that required the networks to continue paying even if there was a work stoppage. Moreover, Doty continued, the NFL did so in preparation of a work stoppage, which was at least a few years away. Additionally, these provisions came at the expense of securing higher annual fees under the contracts if they removed the lockout terms. This was done because in the years prior to the lockout, where the NFL accepted lower annual fees, the fees were to be shared with the players; however, in the event of a lockout, the owners would have been able to keep all the revenue.
Judge Doty stressed that the NFL’s actions were taken with an eye toward locking out the players in a way that would hurt the players financially without a similar harm to themselves. In effect, the owners structured the deals, that were supposed to be negotiated to “maximize revenue for players,” to advance their own interests and not the players. The deals were done in a way to gain leverage for the owners in the event (an event that the owners were planning to occur) of a work stoppage. A plan Judge Doty put a stop to.
Although this was a win for the players, one wonders if the same logic won’t work against them in their upcoming April 6th hearing, a hearing brought by NFL players, led by the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees, claiming that the lockout violates antitrust laws. However, this antitrust lawsuit is only available because the players decertified, a process they began in the fall of 2010. The decertification was done in such a public way in an attempt to gain leverage during negotiations and to allow this current lawsuit to take place. The NFL will/is going to argue that the decertification should be overlooked/ignored as it is a simple ploy to gain leverage whenever the two sides meet again at the bargaining table. It is certainly possible a Judge could look at the NFLPA’s actions the same way Judge Doty looked at the NFL owner’s actions when negotiating the TV deals and agree with the NFL to ignore the decertification.
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