Jeremy Lin Joins The Linsanity Trademark Scrum, Files His Own Application

from the ownership-society dept

This one was probably inevitable after the reports broke of two random trademark applications for “Linsanity” — the phrase popularly associated with unexpected sports phenom Jeremy Lin. It appears that Lin has filed for his own trademark on the term. Again, this isn’t surprising, but I actually wonder if even he has a legal right to it. It doesn’t appear that he’s the one who came up with the term, and while there might be a publicity rights issue, I’m not sure he gets to claim ownership of it just because it refers to him. I could easily see him seeking to block the use by others, but does he really need to lock it up himself as well? It’s too bad that’s the state of society today, where it’s not just about blocking someone else’s bad trademark filing, but it has to be met with another one.

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Comments on “Jeremy Lin Joins The Linsanity Trademark Scrum, Files His Own Application”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:


All original ideas need to be immediately donated to the collective. No one should be allowed to profit off an innovative thought, invention, or creation.

Kinda funny that I actually disagree with almost everything in that sentence. I don’t believe in “donating to the collective.” I believe strongly in private property rights. And I’m a huge fan of helping people profit from innovative thoughts, inventions and creations — just not using bogus artificial monopolies to do so. But you know this.

But, tell me, when did Jeremy Lin create the term “Linsanity”?


Anonymous Coward says:

Sadly, the term “linsanity” has been used often enough in reference to Lindsey Lohan.

While I doubt she would claim trademark on it, it is clear that this term actually refers to someone else. It would be somewhat disappointing not to be able to refer to Ms Lohan using this term.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement culture

It’s the entitlement culture: if you work hard to do something, you should be entitled to special government-supported monopolies (disclaimer: I am not in agreement).

Jeremy Lin did invest a lot of work (presumably) to become the good basketball player he is, and enable the term “Linsanity” to mean something special — therefore, by entitlement logic, he deserves, er, something. Maybe we should invent a new kind of IP just for him.

James Plotkin (user link) says:

Entitlement culture

I understand your sentiment. It gets on my nerves in some contexts as well.

What if you were to think of it less as an entitlement culture and as more of a reward culture (particularly in this instance). Lin HAS worked hard to achieve what he has. It’s less offensive to view this as a reward than an entitlement…though I agree you can see it either way. to me it’s a glass half empty or half full scenario. If you don’t like P the glass is half empty, if you do…well, you see where I’m going with this.

GMacGuffin says:

5 Applications, 4 "Intent to Use"

Just checked USPTO. There are currently five pending applications and all but one are 1B “intent to use” apps, with one of the first two reported being a 1A (use in commerce) application (meaning he didn’t know what he was doing, or had already printed the t-shirts). Most are for apparel; one for sports player management.

It’s not really a matter of who coined the term, but rather who was first to use it in commerce in a particular field to identify their goods or services (so theoretically, the jewelry and sports management and one of the apparel applicants could all use the mark if they didn’t intend to expand into other fields).

After that, it gets complicated and grey, and there are areas of TM law (like domain cybersquatting) that statutorily recognize personal names as a basis for rights to the mark.

So in the end, my guess would be it will boil down to a “Dude… seriously” test, the “seriously” being that Jeremy Lin is the dude gets to use the mark after it all shakes out — he being the subject and all.

dwg says:

5 Applications, 4 "Intent to Use"

It’s not about who coined it: if it’s attached closely enough to a famous person’s own name, then the person gets to decide who gets to register the mark. You can…if he agrees. If not, not.

And it’s not about first in commerce, completely: it can be about first to constructively use (i.e., file an “intent to use” application) if no one has a use date preceding.

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