Thursday, February 2, 2012

NFL Trademark Use a no-no

Every year, about this time, businesses are unexpectedly sued for using two seemingly harmless words: “Super Bowl”. Any advertising, promotion or announcement that is not sanctioned by the National Football League is subject to swift legal action by the NFL. The NFL owns registered trademarks for “Super Bowl,” and “Super Bowl Sunday.” And they aggressively monitor and enforce those trademarks. “NFL,” “AFL,” and the names and nicknames of all NFL teams are also registered trademarks, owned by the NFL. In fact, even if the terms are not used, it could be considered a copyright violation if the game is broadcast on a screen larger than 55 diagonal inches, or requires payment by viewers. For this reason, the Super Bowl is often referred to as “The Big Game.”  The NFL’s trademarks have remained strong and consistent over the years.  Expect to get burned if you make any attempt to monetize off their goodwill.   If the term “Super Bowl” is used anywhere in advertising, it is strictly the result of high

NFL Trademark

dollar licensing agreements.