In the world of sports today, players are becoming more astute in managing their personal brands, and taking steps to secure protection of names, logos and nicknames with an eye of developing their own personal merchandise. Athletes taking steps to secure intellectual property rarely make national news, but a recent US trademark application for “Fitzmagic” (Serial # 88113690) has caused quite a stir.
“Fitzmagic” has been coined by National Football League fans and media alike to describe the performances of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ veteran quarterback playing the best football of his career. On September 12th, an application was filed for use of the mark on branded apparel; the application by Minkah Fitzpatrick, a rookie on the Miami Dolphins. Minkah has no relationship to Ryan.
Minkah received a lot of public backlash for the filing. He was criticized on social media for trying to capitalize on the success of another player. “Fitzmagic” was first used in relation to Ryan in 2010 by a Buffalo newspaper, but Ryan never took any steps to secure a trademark. Minkah says he feels that he is entitled to the registration, as he has been using the nickname since before his high school days; however, he says he is open to letting Ryan Fitzpatrick “take [the nickname] if he wants.”
One person not getting caught up in the back-and-forth is Ryan Fitzpatrick himself. When asked for comment, Ryan made it clear he is more concerned with battles on the field than those off of it.
Summary By: Hashim Ghazi
Disclaimer: This Newsletter is intended to provide readers with general information on legal developments in the areas of e-commerce, information technology and intellectual property. It is not intended to be a complete statement of the law, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. No person should act or rely upon the information contained in this newsletter without seeking legal advice.
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