Yesterday, Mike Baker published a good article discussing the basic status of the Seahawks' trademark portfolio. Of course, this was roughly a week after I wrote an article on the current licensing situation with Texas A&M regarding "the 12th Man." While there was a burst of Seahawk/trademark articles that came out around this time last year, I will claim to have started the movement with the first Seahawk-related trademark article of 2015. (Okay, after further review, I was second, at best.) Next week, I plan on writing a more in-depth post describing the Seahawks' history of trademarks. Today, I want to shift focus from the Seahawks organization to the players themselves.
Few Seahawks seem to be trying to cash in on possible trademark rights. For example, no one has laid claim to "In the Haushchka" (Haushchka), "Beastquake" (Lynch), "Area 29" (Thomas), or "Here's a Tip" (Sherman). While players like Sherman have been dormant, Wilson and Lynch have been actively pursuing their trademark rights. Bam Bam Kam has even gotten in on that action, boss.
Below, I have provided a summary of what each player seems to be doing to capitalize on his trademarks. At the end is a spreadsheet of all the relevant trademarks. There are three things to keep in mind. First, the following summary is not a comprehensive rundown of each player's portfolio. Players may have holding companies that I did not find. I was lucky enough to find "The Chancellor Clothing Company" for Kam Chancellor. Second, I have not included all relevant information for each trademark. Depending on how in-depth you want to go, you can actually access the USPTO public records for yourself by looking up the Serial/Registration numbers on the USPTO website. Third, simply because a player does not have a trademark does not mean that they cannot use the particular mark. For example, Wilson may still use "No Time 2 Sleep" even though he is no longer attempting to acquire a federal registration for the mark. Rather, he can't stop others from using it.
In particular, Richard Sherman should get on top of his trademarks during the offseason. It appears as though Sherman has not attempted to acquire federal trademark rights in anything. Of course, it is possible that he is using a holding company of some sort. However, he does not appear to be claiming any rights in "U Mad Bro?" or "Sea Believe."
U Mad Bro? is already registered to someone at the federal level who does not appear to be affiliated with Richard Sherman. Vincent Elshaw (Elshaw, Vincent in the USPTO database) from Ohio registered the mark on 9/18/12 for hats/shirts (Reg. No. 4211473). Sherman could challenge Mr. Elshaw for misappropriating Sherman's rights of publicity if Mr. Elshaw is currently using Sherman's likeness to sell his product. However, the "U mad bro? moment occurred on 10/14/12 while Mr. Elshaw seemed to apply on 9/12/11, meaning Mr. Elshaw did not try to acquire rights in the phrase in order to profit off of Sherman. Elshaw filed before Sherman could even claim to have trademark rights in the phrase. If Sherman does not address this trademark issue, such as by purchasing the phtase, there is a chance that he may be infringing on Mr. Elshaw's rights, even if just in the limited georgraphic area where Mr. Elshaw markets his product.
A claim to Sea Believe, which is a phrase on some of Sherman's merchandise on his website, was made by Lisa Lin on 1/1/15. This application is at the beginning stages of the registration process. (Serial No. 86493970). The address seems to correspond with Sherman's website. Sherman should be careful, as it appears as though Ms. Lin will be the owner of the mark for federal trademark purposes.
The funniest thing is that Mama Sherman is trying to get in on the action by filing for a federal trademark to "Mama Sherman" on 8/13/14. Currently, she must respond to an office action before she can get a registration.
Wilson has filed at least 11 applications, but has yet to receive a single registration. He is claiming rights to use the following marks with various types of merchandise and services:
- Dangeruss Wilson;
- King in Every Crowd;
- Make Them Notice;
- Pass the Peace; and
- Why Not You
He has abandoned attempts to acquire rights in "No Time 2 Sleep." His other applications are stalled for various reasons. They are all based on an intent to use the mark, so he will need to submit proof that he has actually used each mark in commerce (sold stuff in multiple states/countries) before a final registration will be granted. A few of the marks still need to be published for opposition, which is the stage in the trademark process where third parties have the opportunity to oppose a registration, typically because it would infringe on an already registered mark. The USPTO has filed an office action for the "Pass the Peace" mark to make Wilson provide a different specimen (example of the mark being used).
Marshawn Lynch is also very active with at least 10 applications, which includes 3 registrations for "Beast Mode." Lynch is applying for federal registrations for the following marks with various types of merchandise and services:
- About that action boss;
- Power Pellets;
- 2 B-like symbols (for beast); and
- Beast Mode
Lynch has abandoned his federal application for Family First Tw1st N Hook, which he used for football camps before he joined the Seahawks. Lynch has 3 registrations for Beast Mode. Amusingly, someone is actually trying to get in Lynch's way. The company that makes Monster Energy drinks is actually opposing Lynch's use of Beast Mode relating to non-alcoholic beverages, due to it owning several "beast" related marks.
While Russell Wilson is currently my favorite Seahawk, Bam Bam is really gaining ground. He's always been a force, but he has been playing out of his mind the last half of the season. And now I find that he is also capitalizing on his trademarks with 5 applications pending. He just keeps blowing my mind. For now, he and the Chancellor Clothing Company are applying for the following marks for various merchandise and services:
- The Enforcer;
- Area 31;
- The Chancellor Clothing Company;
- Chancellor of Operations; and
- Bam Bam Kam
For all of the applications except Bam Bam Kam, Kam must still provide evidence that the marks are being used before he can acquire federal registrations. But Bam Bam Kam is in a bit of trouble. The examining attorney has found that "Bam Bam Kam" may be confusingly similar to a few other marks. But, Chancellor still has an opportunity to acquire rights in the mark if he can convince the examining attorney that Bam Bam Kam is not confusingly similar to the other marks.
Pete Carroll (Compete, Inc.)
While not a player, I thought it was amusing that Pete has three trademark registrations held by his company, Compete, Inc.; one for "Win Forever" and two for "Always Compete." Pete finally decided to move the company up to Washington. It looks like the company was registered in Washington on 4/3/14, with the assignment occurring on 5/28/14. What took him so long?
I wanted to provide a quick preview into the next Seahawk-related article. The Seahawks organization has a long history of filing for federal trademarks. The Seahawks trademark portfolio holding company, Football Northwest, LLC, has a portfolio including 119 federal trademark applications. Of the 119 applications, the Seahawks have 29 active registrations and 22 active applications. The rest are dead or abandoned. The Seahawks have only let 4 active registrations die.
I may try to compare the Seahawks organization to the other NFL teams, but I may just cover that in the offseason.
Originally posted at http://dejarnattlaw.blogspot.com/2015/01/seahawks-making-their-mark-examining.html