NFL Wants To Trademark A Euphemism For Its Trademark

from the expanding dept

We've written in the past about the NFL's extremely aggressive stance on its trademark of the term Super Bowl. Basically the league has sought to forbid advertisers from saying things like "Get a new color TV in time for the Super Bowl!", so instead they have to use euphemisms like "The Big Game" instead. Of course, this is a total misuse of trademark law. The idea of trademarks isn't to give one entity total control, but rather it's to prevent confusion. So, for example, the law would prevent another football league from calling their championship game The Super Bowl. But advertisers may have to come up with some new euphemisms next year because now the NFL is seeking a trademark on "The Big Game" (via Hit & Run). The league's stance is already ridiculous, but this takes the cake. "The Big Game" isn't even something that the NFL came up with; it's a phrase that other people use to describe the Super Bowl. There's no justification for the NFL to control this term and then prevent others from using it. At least the NFL is trying to be careful not to overstep its bounds, as it says it has no intention of taking control over the word "game"... for now.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Stefan Mai, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 8:29pm

    I really don't see their motivation for pulling such a stunt. They certainly aren't collecting royalties from grocery stores selling chips and coke, so with "The Super Bowl", their only problem must be trademark dilution. But with "The Big Game"? All this seems to be accomplishing is keeping people from talking about, marketing, and overall hyping up the event... part of what made it so popular in the first place.

     

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    Dino, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 8:43pm

    Wait, this could be a new pastime

    I propose the next five euphemisms for "Super Bowl", to be called into play as the NFL takes ownership of each one over time:

    - The Greedy Bowl
    - The Big Commercial
    - The Super Trademark
    - Halftime Follies
    - Is That A Pigskin In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

     

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      Monarch, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 7:12am

      Re: Wait, this could be a new pastime

      Hey! I like the phrase "The Super Trademarked Football Bowl Game" !!!
      I hope that if the NFL pulls this off, that everyone starts using that phrase! Maybe then the NFL will have so much egg on their face, they will back off.

       

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      Tesla, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Wait, this could be a new pastime

      And, of course: The Stupid Bowl

       

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    erv, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 9:41pm

    methinks some NFL attorneys are bored

     

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    Grandmaster Melliemello, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 10:25pm

    F*ck 'em

    National Friggin' Lame-asses

    As in being overly rewarded for other people's (talented athletes) efforts. What the hell happened to the concept of 'good sportsmanship'?!?

     

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    Dave, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 11:18pm

    I thought this was a joke at first

    This sounds like something The Onion would have come up with.

     

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    workingindust, Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    How long do you think?

    They say they won't trademark the word 'Game' but the way everything is cocked up now how long do you really think that will last till they try to come up with some excuse.

    Maybe they should just finally admit they sold out and call it the 'Budwieser Bowl'.

     

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    whuttech?, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:03am

    Why is this here?

    Is it just me or does this have zero to do with TECH dirt?

    Techdirt is just turning into RIAAdirt, COURTABUSEdirt... but TECH? I don't see it much anymore.

     

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      Tyshaun, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 11:23am

      Re: Why is this here?

      Is it just me or does this have zero to do with TECH dirt? Techdirt is just turning into RIAAdirt, COURTABUSEdirt... but TECH? I don't see it much anymore.

      Very true, it seems like lately a lot of the "articles" are more like propoganda reinforcement than actual tech analysis. Ehh, as it's been said every time a similar statement has been made, this is technically a blog and the content is bound only by where the authors want to take it. You may want to look at some of the more "traditional" outlets for slightly less biased tech analysis.

       

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    Hawk, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:21am

    Too late NFL!

    The Big Game is between Cal and Stanford every year. I imagine they'd say we have to change the name of that game.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Game_%28football%29

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Too late NFL!

      You're using Wikipedia? Everyone knows that Wikipedia is not a solid source of information and that it should never be used to backup any argument. Try again.

       

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    RandomBoy, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 3:30am

    Who the fuck gives a flying fuck about the superbowl anyway? Watching sports is retarded!

     

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    Green Bastard, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 4:01am

    Big Game

    The big game is/are giraffes , lions, rhinos, and the ilk. Who give a rosey red rats ass about college football, yeaah I want to watch people learn to do something professionally.....If I did I'd probably watch a doctor or a mechanic at school, since the two most expensive things I break are my vehicle and my own self, "Cal and Stanford"... yuppie A-hole. If the NFL wants to do this, then screw em' watch a movie(downloaded for free), play a game, OR, and I know this is a stretch, but get the fuck off of your fat useless american anna&britney are news asses, grab your fat lazy kids(who also have no common sense) go find some nature and go for a hike.
    OR grab a ball and some friends, and actually play the God Damn game your selves.

    Hoping someone gets off their fat ass

    Green Bastard

     

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    Painterskip, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 5:03am

    Example

    I found out that the word CAUTION and/or the term CAUTION! was allowed a trademark and can't be used except by the guy that owns the trademark....

    So my guess is that the NFL will get away with it....

     

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  •  
    identicon
    F. Flint, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 6:20am

    Why Stop at

    I've decided to copyright and trademark every word in the entire English language.

    You ALL owe me money right now!

     

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      F.U. Flint, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 6:47am

      Re: Why Stop at

      F. Flint wrote: "I've decided to copyright and trademark every word in the entire English language.

      You ALL owe me money right now!"

      Actually, F. Flint, we don't owe you until AFTER you secure your trademark. Call me when you do, I'll be glad to pay up.

       

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    Jon, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 7:06am

    Endorsement

    Another aspect of trademark is that using the trademark may imply endorsement. If a rental place says "rent a tv in time for the Super Bowl" the NFL would claim that it implies that the NFL endorses that particular store. That's an incredible stretch, but that's the angle their coming from.

    But yeah, trademarks are not just about competitors trying to steal your brand name - it's also about non-competitors trying to imply that you endorse their brand name. That aspect should at least be noted in articles like this.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 7:19am

    Ya know what.
    Let em have it, I refuse to watch it any more.

     

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    Pesti, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 7:37am

    Give it a year or two and we'll just call it "The Commercial Bowl", after all, what is it now 1 hour of gameplay and 2 hours of corperate america shoving unnessary BULLSH*T DOWN OUR THROATS.....

     

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    PseudoDragon, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 9:24am

    game???

    so if the NFL decided to trademark the word 'game' what am i going to call my video GAMEs??

     

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    La la la, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 9:42am

    Game?

    Some video game company needs to make a game called "THE BIG GAME"

    and STAT

     

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    identicon
    me, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 9:47am

    Two Words;

    You're Fired!

     

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    me too, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 11:17am

    The ... big ... game ...

    I am immediately trademark the word "the", and of course "game" to make sure there isn't any more confusion with "the game".

    Sherlockians, the euphemism is afoot ... unless I trademark the word "foot", of course .

    sigh.

     

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    identicon
    Chris, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:09pm

    Tech and Dirt

    Tech is the abbrivated form of Technician, only "recently" adopted to be the abrv. for technology. Dirt, if translated to be slang, usualy means brining into light those things people don't want noticed. So to say "where's the tech analysis?" when you're reading a blog that has to do with anything that affects buisness, such as groundbreaking technologies, new consumer services, and the legality surrounding all the bs that is trademark and copywright law, then you're an idiot to see how these articles contribute to the greater whole that is TechDirt. If you truely want tech analysis, how about you pay these people for their time and effort to recieve something you want.

     

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      identicon
      Tyshaun, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 6:30pm

      Re: Tech and Dirt

      Tech is the abbrivated form of Technician, only "recently" adopted to be the abrv. for technology. Dirt, if translated to be slang, usualy means brining into light those things people don't want noticed. So to say "where's the tech analysis?" when you're reading a blog that has to do with anything that affects buisness, such as groundbreaking technologies, new consumer services, and the legality surrounding all the bs that is trademark and copywright law, then you're an idiot to see how these articles contribute to the greater whole that is TechDirt. If you truely want tech analysis, how about you pay these people for their time and effort to recieve something you want.

      So basically the best answer you can give to what I thought was a very salient question is to derive some pseudo-definition of your interpretation of techDirt and state that if anyone doesn't like said defiinition they are idiotic? In other words, your world view is the only truly correct one and any questioning therof is unthinkable.

      [sarcasm] Very open minded and adult answer Chris. [/sarcasm]

       

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    identicon
    Chris, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:12pm

    edit..


    "then you're an idiot to see how these articles contribute to the greater whole that is TechDirt"


    The above should say "you're and idiot to not see how..."

     

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      whuttech?, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 4:16am

      Re: edit..

      No I think you were correct the first time.

      tech.. technology.. technician.. technically I just don't care anymore.


      Its dirt.. Yes.. But they should just call it BizDirt, or CorpCrap, or Industridiocy.

       

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        identicon
        Nick Burns, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 5:47pm

        Re: Re: edit..

        Its dirt.. Yes.. But they should just call it BizDirt, or CorpCrap, or Industridiocy

        I hold a trademark on "Industridocy". And I patented the concept of replying to blog posts. You owe me money.

        This thread has lost any semblance of a point.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Mark Leopold, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    NFL

    I thought this was our game? Not just the NFL's.

     

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    identicon
    Mark Leopold, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    NFL

    I thought this was our game? Not just the NFL's.

     

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    identicon
    Kentucky Fats, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 3:17pm

    Re: NFL

    I'm a Super Bowler, does that mean I'm in trouble when I tell my friends that, at the lanes?

     

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    LukeD, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 5:42pm

    Give the NFL a taste of their own medicine...Europe should trademark the word "Football".

     

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    Overcast, Feb 24th, 2007 @ 8:44pm

    Yeah, it's a 'big game' alright...

    Too bad the public is the punch line of the joke.

     

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    Debi Feistkorn, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 2:53am

    NFL

    The NFL needs to get over itself. Those guys have been trying to ruin football for years, just look what they've done to the Super Bowl. It's become little more than a showcase for multi-million dollar commercials and over done half time shows. I'm surprised they even bother to let us watch a football game.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 3:14am

    NFL

    Well this should not be a surprise since they are using their NFL Network to try to make every game a PPV event.
    Football channel in the summer?
    What? Welcome to "Cooking with Quaterbacks!"

    Although if they get Rachel Ray in a cheerleader outfit...

     

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    identicon
    kandy, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 9:21am

    The first rule about the Big Game

    The first rule about the Big Game
    Is that you can't talk about the Big Game

     

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    Overcast, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 9:38am

    Yeah, lol

    Maybe they shoudl trademark 'No Fun League' - it seems like that's where they are heading.

    Oh well NFL, I've always been able to take or leave football, I didn't bother watching the 'Big Game' this past month, a friend invited me over to watch on his big screen, but I didn't want to violate any copyright laws.

    My 25 inch TV, well - I found more entertainment doing other stuff.

    So one less person watching 'The Big Game'. You can stick it~

    Hopefully MLB won't be quite this nasty, I'm a bit more fond of Baseball.

    You know - maybe if the NFL tried getting some of their gangsta' players off crack, it wouldn't be so bad.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Football Hater, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 10:26am

    Football is for insecure men

    Football SUCK! It's watched by men who are insecure and need to feel like they are part of some sort of Macho men's club. "Drink beer and watch football"..... The requirement for all red-blooded American men. BULL S**T! I'd rather watch a good Science program in order to educate my brain instead of watching some inane worthless game such as Football.

    (Okay... I feel better now.)

     

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    identicon
    old fan, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 10:43am

    Step off - NFL you suck you are destoring the the

    Step off - NFL you suck you are destoring the the game of football

     

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    identicon
    old fan, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 10:43am

    Step off - NFL you suck you are destoring the the

    Step off - NFL you suck you are destoring the the game of football

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Stover, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Spinning out of control

    US patent and trademark law is spinning out of control. With no one at the wheel anymore things are getting crazy and no one is providing judicial oversite - - - think of the the Ottomans then take a real close look of what's happening

     

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    identicon
    Jorge, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 6:06pm

    12th Man

    I think it was the Seattle Seahawks who tried to go after TexasA&M for use of the "12th Man" slogan. Maybe it was vice versa. Regardless it all reeks of stupidity.

     

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    identicon
    Numbers are MINE, Feb 25th, 2007 @ 11:14pm

    DUMB

    Ok I think I'll trademark every number, and numeral. Math and thinking are forbidden!

     

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    identicon
    Jesus Christ, Feb 26th, 2007 @ 7:29am

    No Christmas for you

    I am hereby copywriting "Christmas, Xmas, King of the Jews, The Man, JC, Easter, resurrection" and the phrase "My boss is a Jewish carpenter."
    Oh and "the Passion." Watch out Mel.
    Don't like it?
    SUE ME!

     

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    JustMatt, Feb 26th, 2007 @ 7:38am

    So they've decided that nobody else uses the term?

    IIRC Mr. Ronald Reagan was in a movie in the 30's (40's?) where he played a college football player and they spent the whole movie talking about The Big Game with the State University.

    What about every single Pee Wee baseball team talking about The Big Game?

     

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    identicon
    Adam, Feb 26th, 2007 @ 10:36am

    Can I call my toilet bowl a "super bowl"? It flashes even the biggest **** quite effortlessly. Or, would this be sort of infringement too?

     

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    identicon
    SATAN, Feb 26th, 2007 @ 8:45pm

    sports sux

    They sux ass, fuck them and their stoopid game

     

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    identicon
    Somewhere, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 1:05pm

    Generic words / term

    This set of works is not trademarkable due to the common usage for such a long time. If the trademark office allows this, it shows who is paid off. Anyone sued by the NFL has plenty of referances to the phrase to show never should have been allowed trademark status.
    Yes I agree, the NFL lawyers have too much time on their hands, send them some petro jelly, I think they need some quiet time in the closet!

    Oh and I guess my party with 20 friends watching 120" projection was in violation of their crappyright? Doh, guess I better have them piss all the bud back in the cans so I can return it for my $$ back. Better pack up the stinkys back in the bags for return too... Lord forbid I don't want to be in violation of their vapor rights. What morons, all the brands bought and used at these get togethers are the same companies advertising in the game.

     

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