Counterpoint: Maybe Athletes Should Rush To The Trademark Office... If They Play For Teams Like The Dallas Mavericks

from the this-isn't-what-we-meant dept

Over the past several years, we've covered the increasingly trendy practice of professional athletes rushing to the trademark office to register their nicknames and/or catchphrases. From Anthony Davis' unibrow, to Bryce Harper's flippant remarks, to Ryan Lochte channeling his inner bro-ness, up to and including Jeremy Lin's claim on his portmanteau nickname, we've raised our eyebrows at this sort of theory of ownership and protectionism that often times looks to make exclusive money over the coined phrases created by others. This sort of locking up of language was never really the point of trademark law, as we've pointed out, and we've suggested that athletes engaging in this sort of thing probably isn't the best thing for the public, the supposed beneficiary of trademark law.

But perhaps we should introduce a caveat in our stance: if you play for the Dallas Mavericks, maybe you should rush to the trademark office. It seems that Luka Doncic, the rookie star of Mark Cuban's team, has had the trademark rug pulled out from underneath him by his employer.

One person in particular, Mike Pocopio, a development coach on the Mavs' staff, referred to Doncic as 'El Matador' and it stuck.

Now, 'El Matador' and 'The Matador' have both been trademarked by the Mavs' after they registered the names with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

According to Josh Gerben, the Mavs want the exclusive rights to the name so, should Doncic leave the Mavs one day, he would no longer be able to call himself 'El Matador'.

That seems... pretty shitty? We have a rookie athlete doing a great job for his team, building a reputation for himself that results in a nickname, and then his team goes out to lock that nickname up... for what? So that if Doncic goes elsewhere, the team can reapply that nickname to a new player? Come on. What sure seems more likely is that the Mavericks know that Doncic is a thing in basketball circles and want to be able to trade off of their newest star player's persona to the exclusion of him. Not a great look, honestly.

So, if athletes now want to claim that they are trademarking all of the things because they're afraid team ownership will undercut them in doing so, that seems valid now. Thanks to the Mavs.

Filed Under: athletes, el matador, luka doncic, mark cuban, trademark
Companies: dallas mavericks


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 5:42pm

    And

    And athlete tattoos should be property of the person wearing them, not the inker. (Or, not copyrighted at all.)
    Maximum IP FTW!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 8:14pm

    What standing did the team have in trademarking the name of another person?
    I wonder if the players union has addressed this issue in it's contracts?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      They paid the fee, and nobody objected, so the Trademark Office issued it. Doncic still has 5 years to ask that it be canceled.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:58pm

    TAFKAM

    The Athlete Formerly Known As (the) Maverick

    (quick, let's register that as there are only 26 of those :-)

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 9 Jan 2019 @ 1:01am

    Yeah, but does the USPTO itself know its purpose? History would say "no".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 1:19am

      Re:

      Intellectual property is intentionally muddied by its practitioners. Copyright infringement and plagiarism are different, but equated as the same because it's easier to fool gullible children that way. Same goes for the copyright status on Steamboat Willie, to hear fearmongers scream about it you'd think the public domain would drain Disney bone dry overnight.

      Application and subtlety of IP law boils down to whatever you can charge me with that would cost me the most money, to be paid to your coffers. And you don't even need to prove I did it, just hope the threat of a lawsuit is enough.

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

  • icon
    Markcuban (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 11:19am

    Typical techdirt. Don't ask why. Dont do any research. Just pretend they know something

    We have been grabbing player urls and trademarking and copyrighting player related terms for years.

    It's to protect players.

    You know what's worst than your article ? Some scammer trademarking or copyrighting a nickname or slogan they read about online

    All of our players have the right to use them, but never do. They just appreciate that we are looking out for them

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 3:15pm

      Re:

      So, there you have it. Mark Cuban himself states it to protect the player so when El Matador leaves the Mavericks Mark will have no problem signing over the rights to El Matador to the player. You read it here first. Mark is not going to hold onto it and claim its his, he is going to save it and hold onto it for his player and turn it over to him when he leaves.

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

  • identicon
    anonyous, 9 Jan 2019 @ 3:11pm

    What about prior Art of pre-existing ownership

    If he was referred to El Matador prior to the Mav's trademarking it doesn't he have a claim to be the rightful owner and be able to challenge the trademark office. Seems like there would be some kind of legal relief there given the name was adorned to him personally.

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

    • icon
      Markcuban (profile), 11 Jan 2019 @ 10:34am

      Re: What about prior Art of pre-existing ownership

      The nicknames were created by a staff member. It is only really used around the Mavs. We did it to pre empt any issues and Luka can do what he wants with it. If anything.

      But I have to admit. I love to argue with and on techdirt. They are oredicatable !

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

  • identicon
    tonylurker, 10 Jan 2019 @ 6:16am

    Hey, they're just doing what the WWE/WF has been doing for decades.

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


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