Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses the “Tom Terrific” Trademark Tiff
You do not need to be a football fan to recognize the name Tom Brady. The future Hall of Fame quarterback is about to enter his 20th season in the National Football League (NFL), all of them with the New England Patriots. The six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player has transcended the sport to become a household celebrity name. In today’s world, of course, being a celebrity means having and protecting a brand of sorts.
As a business law attorney, I am acutely aware of how trademark protections can be used to help businesses and other entities separate themselves from the competition. I also understand how trademarks can protect particular elements of a celebrity’s brand. Sometimes, however, certain trademark requests can become rather complicated.
Management Company Files Two Trademark Applications
Earlier this week, widespread reports emerged regarding the filing of two trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to the USPTO’s press secretary, TEB Capital Management Inc.—the management agency for Tom Brady—filed two applications for the nickname “Tom Terrific.” One was reportedly filed for sports collectibles, such as trading cards, photos, and posters, while the other was for apparel. Legal experts suggested that the filings indicated that Brady intended to use the nickname on merchandise and memorabilia.
Mets Fans Speak Out
As the news of the filings broke, Brady quickly came under fire from fans of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets. Across social media, Mets fans decried the move, reminding the public that “Tom Terrific” was used as a nickname for Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. Seaver led the Mets to the World Series championship in 1969—eight years before Tom Brady was even born. While there have been no reports of any official filings by the Mets to block the applications, the team’s official Twitter account tagged the UPSTO in a post drawing attention to the matter.
Brady Claims He Does Not Like the Nickname
On Thursday, Tom Brady addressed the media regarding the filing of the applications. He told reporters, “It’s unfortunate. I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname, and I wanted to make sure no one used it.” Brady claimed that his efforts were spun into “something different than what it was,” and that he will take a different approach in the future. He also said he did not plan to release any merchandise with the Tom Terrific name on it.
While some may question the authenticity of his statements, securing a trademark for the phrase would give Brady’s management company the ability to block other companies from profiting from the nickname on trading cards, posters, and apparel. If the applications are approved, one can only speculate what would happen if another company released a Tom Terrific shirt featuring Tom Seaver.
Call a Naperville Business Lawyer Today
If you have questions about how trademark protections could help your company, contact an experienced DuPage County business law attorney to get the answers you need. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.