By: Editorial Staff, Date: February 8th, 2021

Did you watch The Big Game on Sunday, February 7? If you’re a fan, you probably know why most advertisers don’t simply call it The Super Bowl. As Colbert famously pointed out with the “Superb Owl” routine, Super Bowl is a trademark, registered by the NFL.

The NFL is known to sue over “counterfeit” shirts copying NFL team names or proprietary gear designs. It has sued churches over Super Bowl parties.

Other registered trademarks include Pro Bowl, the NFL shield logo, and images of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

IP Theft, or Nominative Fair Use?

The National Football League guards the brand because its business model involves selling sponsors the right to use its own brand in their marketing. Anheuser-Busch shells out $250 million a year for exclusive rights. The value would be undermined if the NFL failed to guard its trademarks.

In 2006, the NFL tried to register a trademark for The Big Game. But the nominative fair use concept in U.S. trademark law says The Big Game cannot be restricted—as an accurate and informative description of…the Big Game. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made this legal concept clear in 1992. So, can groups host Super Bowl parties under current IP law? Such cases invariably turn on whether the use somehow implies official sponsorship of the event, or the logos are displayed. The overarching question is whether a group profits off the NFL brand, or accurately describes a trademarked event.

Join The Knowledge Group for Upcoming Webcasts on Intellectual Property Protection

Kick off your IP knowledge in 2021 with Effective Brand Protection Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide for Companies. This live webcast on Thursday, February 18 (12:00PM – 1:30 PM ET) will equip professionals with effective brand protection strategies to manage the risks and challenges.

Upcoming Webcasts

2022-06-24T13:56:18-04:00

The U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Development: Regulatory Trends and Compliance Issues

In this LIVE Webcast, a panel of thought leaders and professionals brought together by The Knowledge Group will provide and present an in-depth analysis of the fundamentals as well as recent developments in Accounts Payable Automation: Business Cost-Control Strategies Explored. Speakers will also present all important issues surrounding this significant topic. Join us for this Knowledge Group Webinar!

Upcoming Webcasts

Tweets

back