Are We No Longer “The 12th Man”?


12th Man

By Joe Davison

If you have watched a Seahawks football game, chances are you have heard the phrase “12th Man” during broadcast.  This phrase is typically used to describe the impact of the home fans—each team has eleven players on the field and the fans are thought to fill the role of the 12th man to give the home team advantage.  Although it is used by many football teams, the saying is most commonly associated with the Seattle Seahawks and Texas A&M University’s football team.

The use of the “12th Man” phrase by both the Seahawks and Texas A&M goes back decades.  In 1984, the Seahawks retired the number 12 in honor of its famously dedicated fans. In 2003, the Seahawks installed a flagpole in the south end zone of CenturyLink Field, and began a tradition of raising a flag with the number 12 on it to honor their fans.   Continue reading

Facebook Wins Trademark Case in China

facebookBy Kiran Jassal

By now, many are aware that Facebook has taken a rather active stance when it comes to protecting its trademark. Examples include bringing infringement claims against Designbook, Lamebook, and Teachbook.  Not surprisingly, Facebook is once again policing its trademark. What is surprising, however, is that Facebook won a trademark dispute in China, a place where trademark disputes haven’t typically ended in favor of U.S. companies.

On April 28, 2016, the Beijing High Court ruled that the Zhongshan Pearl River Drinks Factory (the “Factory”), based in southern Guangdong province, should not have been allowed to register the trademark, “face book”. Hoping to use the mark “face book” on its various food and beverage products, the Factory filed a trademark application at the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on January 24, 2011. Continue reading

Kylie Who?

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By Danielle Ollero

Although many think of Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe when hearing the name Kardashian, younger sister Kylie Jenner is now making a name for herself, quite literally.  In April and November of 2015, Kylie Jenner, Inc. filed several trademark applications for Jenner’s full name, along with just her first name “Kylie.”

Of Jenner’s two applications for “Kylie,”one covers “[e]ntertainment in the nature of providing information by means of a global computer network in the fields of entertainment and pop culture; entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a celebrity, actress and model,” and “[p]roviding information by means of a global computer network in the field of fashion.” The other extends to “[a]dvertising services, namely, promoting the brands, goods and services of others; endorsement services, namely, promoting the goods and services of others.” There were no issues until KDB Pty Ltd. filed a Notice of Opposition (Notice) on behalf of Australian pop star Kylie Minogue on February 22, 2016.

The Notice cited an existing trademark registration for the name “Kylie” that covers entertainment services and music recordings.  Although not precisely the same categories that Jenner is using in her application, the similarities still may pose a threat to Jenner’s application.

Trademark law has a purpose that is two-fold.  First, to prevent confusion of the consumer when identifying the source of a particular mark.  Second, to protect the trademark owner’s reputation.  KDB asserts that if Jenner’s application were granted, then it would undermine both of these purposes for Minogue’s existing trademark.

KDB further argues that Jenner’s trademark would cause confusion amongst Minogue’s fans, and would dilute her brandKDB cites that Minogue owns the domain “” and that as a survivor of breast cancer, a movement called “The Kylie Effect” was started for support of breast cancer research. These are an attempt to prove that Minogue’s fans know her as simply “Kylie,” so Jenner’s application will cause her fans to become confused.  As a result, this confusion would dilute Minogue’s brand by associating her with Jenner’s controversial statements.  However, this argument may still fall flat, as it is unclear whether Minogue will be able to prove that she is known simply by her first name unlike Madonna, Cher, Adele, or Prince, whose first names are their sole identities.

Minogue points to the longevity of her career, that she has been in the entertainment industry since 1979, and the she has participated in events in the United States and around the world.  She argues that even if her fans do not solely know her as “Kylie,” the name is more closely associated with her than with Jenner.  Although Jenner’s millions of social media followers may disagree with KDB.  It is impossible to deny that she is one of the most followed stars on social media, and is consistently featured in the tabloids.

The remainder of the Notice further lambasts Jenner as a “secondary reality television personality” who was a “supporting character” on the television series Keeping up With the Kardashians.   KDB also claims that Jenner’s social media presence has been subject to criticism from organizations such as the Disability Rights and African-American communities.  Although these appear to be jabs worthy of a social media war, these arguments will likely be affective in court as they go toward the protection of Minogue’s reputation.

Since the initial Notice was filed, KDB requested an extension to oppose the trademark, which was granted on April 4, 2016.  KDB believes that it has “good cause” to oppose Jenner’s additional trademarks.  Although these two starlets may be more comfortable settling disputes within the confines of their Twitter accounts, this will be one battle that will be fought in court.

Images Source: PopCrush

Who Scores With the Ads on NBA Jerseys?

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By Alex Bullock

The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) owners recently approved a proposal to allow the sale of jersey sponsorships as a part of a three-year trial program set to begin in the 2017-2018 season, the same year that the league’s official uniform provider switches over from Adidas to Nike. Jersey sponsorship will take the form of a patch on the front left of the jersey, measuring 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches. The Nike logo will occupy the same position on the other side of the jersey.

This decision by the NBA’s owners marks the first foray into in-game, on-jersey advertisements by one of the “big four” sports in the United States (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL). Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, said the NBA teams could earn additional revenue of $100 million annually through the program, and that “[j]ersey sponsorships provide deeper engagement with partners looking to build a unique association with our teams and the additional investment will help grow the game in exciting new ways.”

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Skechers’ Sketchy Designs

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By Talia Loucks

Remember when Skechers shoes were cool in the 90s? Well, now that the Spice Girls era of chunky platforms are no longer in style, and people opt for more conventional shoes, the modern shoe market has forced Skechers to expand into other shoe types. Unfortunately for Skechers, this expansion has resulted in trademark infringement claims against it, especially from Adidas.

This past September, Adidas filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Skechers in federal court for the District of Oregon. And, on February 12, 2016, Adidas had its first victory when Judge Marco A. Hernandez issued a preliminary injunction against Skechers, prohibiting it from selling its Onix, Relaxed Fit Cross Court TR, and women’s Supernova shoes as they are “confusingly similar” to three Adidas designs.

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