from the trademark-the-planet dept
You may recall that there have been recent trademark issues over the term “12th Man”, which Texas A&M insists is its alone to use, even as the Seattle Seahawks perhaps use it most famously in describing their rabid crowds and the deafening noise their home stadium produces. Well, on the eve of the Seahawks returning to the Super Bowl, the trademark lawyers for the team have decided to make a run at getting their own trademark on the number “12” … and just about everything else they could think of as well.
Despite that long history of onomatopoeia in the sport, the Seahawks are now trying to trademark the word “boom” and use it for the team’s own purposes. The effort is part of a quiet legal strategy in which the team has filed some two dozen trademark applications since October 2013 for phrases such as “Go Hawks” and the number “12.”
Football and the word “boom” have been married for decades, long before someone nicknamed Seahawks defenders the “Legion of Boom.” Way back in the 1960s, Minnesota Vikings running back Bill Brown was known as “Boom-Boom” for his similarly punishing style. Ex-coach John Madden bellowed “boom” during play-by-play TV broadcasts so often that, by the 1990s, it became his personal catchword, used in commercials featuring the popular pitchman.
No matter, apparently, because the attorneys are here to make sure the long history of “boom” and “numbers” in football belong to them for commercial purposes. The idea that a word that describes a sound could be locked up by a team, not to mention a number that describes the fanbase as a part of the team, is absolutely ludicrous. But the flag bearing the number “12” has already been approved for trademark. We’ll have to see about the “boom.” As for “Go Hawks”, good luck to the Seahawks because there are very interested parties lining up to object.
The Seahawks’ aggressive quest for new revenue has led both the NBA and NHL to try to slow one of the trademark applications. And while Seattle’s owners were once sued over the use of “12th Man,” the team is now trying to seize control of many other variations of the term.
You can bet the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA and the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL will be throwing lawyers at the Seahawks’ lame attempt to lock up language. Those two teams alone have an insane amount of merchandise in place bearing the “Go Hawks” language. So why haven’t those teams ever tried to trademark the term? Well, because unlike the Seahawks, most professional sports teams are surprisingly lax when it comes to trademarking tangential language.
Scott Andresen, a sports entertainment attorney in Chicago, said the Seahawks’ pursuit of so many different trademarks contrasts with conduct by other teams, even those with a national brand such as the Dallas Cowboys.
“They’ve always been a little aggressive about securing intellectual property for themselves,” said Andresen, who has worked with other professional franchises. “They’ve really taken the position that the more intellectual property, the better.”
Just in the past few months, the Seahawks have petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a chance to oppose a film company’s application to trademark a geographical name featured in the blockbuster “Hunger Games” books and movies: “District 12.”…While the Seahawks’ team owners have submitted 24 trademark applications in the past 15 months, officials with the Green Bay Packers, last weekend’s opponent, have filed just 36 applications in the past 40 or so years, according to federal records.
So the Seahawks are especially insane when it comes to trying to trademark anything and everything. Perhaps they learned this deviant behavior at the hands of Texas A&M, and the cycle simply repeats itself with the victim becoming the perpetrator. Or maybe there’s some kind of gas leak in the offices of the team’s attorneys. Either way, it’s probably time for a well-being check.