Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trademarking the Term "TEBOWING"

Tim Tebow, the infamous Jets quarterback, who created the "TEBOWING" phenomenon is trying to get control of the term "TEBOWING."  For those who may not know, "TEBOWING" is the pose adopted by Tim Tebow during football games where he kneels and prays:

An apparent fan of Tim Tebow, Jason Vollmer, applied for a trademark of the term "TEBOWING" when Tim got wise and sought his own.  If you've read this blog before, particularly, the trademark primer you would know that one cannot simply obtain a trademark for a term, but must be using that term in connection with goods or services.  So, what are the goods and services that Tim Tebow is associating with the mark? Well, his applications list football-related CDs/DVDs, educational services, clothing, hats, posters, and the like.  Mr. Vollmer was using and selling a line of clothing, among other items, featuring the Tebow posture.  According to Tim Tebow's application, he has not begun to use the mark in commerce, yet (they are intent-to-use applications).  And, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Tebow wants to control of the mark in order to make sure that it is "used the right way."  

What makes this scenario interesting is that it seems obvious that Tim Tebow had no designs on doing anything (i.e. selling shirts, DVDs, etc.) with the term until another sought to take advantage of it.  Tim Tebow has learned from the San Francisco Giants' mistake with respect to his "trademark."  However, at some point, Tim Tebow will have to start using the mark "TEBOWING" in commerce, so it looks like his company, XV Enterprises LLC, will soon be in the business of selling "TEBOWING" paraphernalia.