NFL Edging Towards Claiming A Trademark On 'The Big Game' Again

from the yup,-again dept

We all know that the NFL doesn't want anyone to use the term "Super Bowl" without having paid the NFL first (and paid lots and lots of money). As we've pointed out in the past, most of this is pure bullshit. In most cases, people and companies totally can use the term "Super Bowl" but few people want to deal with any sort of legal fight, so they just don't.

What's even crazier though is how the NFL has tried to crack down on euphemisms as well. The most popular term that companies use instead of the Super Bowl is "The Big Game." And going back to 2007, we noted that the NFL wanted to trademark that too, even though it's not the one who came up with the term, nor does it really use it. A bunch of companies opposed the NFL's attempt, but over at the Pirated Thoughts blog, Michael Lee notes that the NFL is doing a few things that suggest it may want to trademark "The Big Game" again. At the very least, it's trying to block anyone else from trademarking it:

In late 2014, an individual in California filed a trademark registration for the BIG GAME DAME mark to cover athletic gear such as shirts, pants and jackets. The applicant claims that the mark is already in use and filed the “in use” specimen that can be seen below. The specimen is nothing more than a ratty plain white t-shirt that someone stuck a homemade label on from their old Brother P-Touch. Alright, this all seems a bit shady but we will put the skepticism to the side.

More germane than the earnestness of this trademark application, in December 2015 the mark was published for opposition. On January 26th, the NFL requested and was granted an extension of time to oppose issuance of the trademark. This is the usual first step that allows the parties time to try to work out a settlement, allows the opposer additional time to draft the opposition or even allows the opposer time to reevaluate its position and not even file an opposition in the first place.

This potential opposition is not an isolated incident. On the same day, the NFL was also granted an extension of time to oppose an entirely different mark by another clothing company, BIG GAME DAY ARE YOU READY! A month earlier, the NFL also requested an extension of time to oppose this same clothing company’s BIG GAME mark. Three potential trademark oppositions over the use of BIG GAME in a month’s time, where there is smoke there could be some fire.

In other words, the NFL is at least suggesting that it may have a right to "The Big Game" as well. It's not clear if the NFL thinks there will be less opposition this time, or that people won't notice. Or maybe it just doesn't care (which seems to be the standard operating procedure of the NFL these days). But, once again, such a move would be crazy. And, of course, it wouldn't even be necessary if the NFL hadn't been such a trademark extremist in the first place.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 7:43pm

    The BIg Game

    Is that a porno movie? I didn't know the NFL was into making porno flicks.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 8:10pm

    I prefer superb owls.

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

  • identicon
    aidian, 5 Feb 2016 @ 8:25pm

    Saw a local TV add that used the 'Big Game'....

    ....and it came off sounding retarded. I forget if it was electronics or furniture, but it was small local change and I remember thinking 'this is stupid' and 'I can't believe the NFL would go after this tiny company' for using the term Super Bowl.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 8:47pm

    Is Uber Bowl taken? How about the Uber Game? Yeah, I don't care if the Giants aren't playing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 9:28pm

    People are very ingenious when it comes to making up words that imply what they want you to understand without actually saying the words. It's run the Chinese in circles trying to end the natural gesture of people wanting to say what they want to say.

    Superb owls indeed.

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 5 Feb 2016 @ 9:30pm

    How about we just call it "Bob"?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 10:41pm

    FTNFL. I remember Super Bowl III. Back when I was a young lad and there was still a love for the game, when the fans mattered as much as the paychecks. I will not be watching Sunday, I haven't watched in years. I have found better things to occupy my time with.

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

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 6 Feb 2016 @ 5:51am

    eh? What is a Super Bowl?

    What is a Super Bowl anyway? I seem to of heard the phrase decades ago. A high flush capacity toilet perhaps?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

    Big game, they talking about The Grey Cup? Its a big game here. oh and yes our balls are bigger, and so is our field.

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 6 Feb 2016 @ 4:56pm

    Some people have all the [copy]rights...

    Space.com isn't scared about saying Super Bowl. They say it a few times in fact.

    NASA isn't scared about taking a live video feed and streaming it to make a public performance in outer space.

    What a great world we live in when the NFL says we can't say the SB word and we can't have a party with our friends to view it and we can't re-stream it...

    But those who have the means have the ways.

    E

    http://www.space.com/31834-astronauts-will-watch-super-bowl-in-space.html

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2016 @ 5:37pm

    Here is a better one

    "greedy bastards" They have certainly earned that one.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2016 @ 4:59am

    The Big Game

    That already happened.

    College Football National Championship
    Alabama v Clemson

    Roll Tide!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2016 @ 7:10am

    Why not call it the "Concussion Bowl" ?

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 7 Feb 2016 @ 12:50pm

    I'm ready... for the NFL to disappear entirely.

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 7 Feb 2016 @ 1:14pm

    The problem is not the NFL...

    ...or MLB or NHL or NCAA or the MPAA ... or anyone seeking to make financial windfalls by either providing under license or locking up and preventing others from accessing i̶m̶a̶g̶i̶n̶a̶r̶y̶ intellectual property.

    The problem is our archaic laws and the nouveau judicial and lobbyist-fueled interpretation that seeks to support these lockdowns.

    The title of this piece is telling. It's about trademarks. The NFL has not used "The Big Game" in commerce, and others have, predating their use. Each of those two criteria alone would -normally- doom a trademark application. Together it would guarantee no such trademark be granted. But... the NFL is a special beast.

    Taxes? The NFL is special.
    Having its staff have an unheard-of number of injuries and concussions and brain damage and no inquiries, no congressional committees, no OSHA paperwork? The NFL is special.

    Why should getting a trademark on something others have used and they never have be different?

    The problem isn't really the NFL. It's the corrupt system that supports this and other abuses by other well-heeled parties.

    E

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2016 @ 12:42pm

    1996: "Massachusetts joins five other states (Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia) to create a multi-state lottery game called “The Big Game.” "

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


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