Another Super Bowl is in the books and we've heard all of the recaps regarding the players and performance, but what about the Intellecutal Property (IP)? How did the Intellecutal Property of the Big Game perform?
Seattle's Use of the 12th Man
Did you know that this Intellecutal Property is only licensed by the Seahawks? The trademark is actually owned by Texas A&M. In 2006, Texas A&M filed a trademark lawsuit against the Seahawks from it's unauthorized use of the phrase. The Seahawks agreed to pay $100,000 and $5,000 annually for the ability of the team to use rally cry of their fan base. An interesting note is that there was no extra money for the use of the phrase during the Super Bowl. The phrase remains licensed to Seattle through 2016.
Oddly enough, the Denver Broncos ran afoul of a similar unauthorized use of the A&M phrase during a playoff game in 2012 against the Pittsburg Steelers. The pre-game festivities included a man parachuting into the stadium sporting a flag with the "12th Man" trademark. Texas A&M was quick to respond asserting it's trademark rights and prevented the Broncos moving forward with the phrase.
Super Bowl: Trademark or Copyright?
It's actually both! The NFL has trademarked the words SUPER BOWL, SUPER SUNDAY and PRO BOWL. They also own the copyright to the telecast of the game. They've protected their trademark by taking action against any commercial use of the words, but have allowed for what is termed "nominative fair use" which according to Wikipedia refers to a "product or service [that] cannot be readily identified without using the trademark."
We've all seen the vendors hawking goods we all know aren't official products. How much does this really impact business? “Operation Team Player,” conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the NFL, seized more than $20 million in sports gear. The growing concern expands beyond gear as more than 150 websites and 3,000 domain names were seized by law enforcement. Why is this important? Counterfiet products costs the U.S. economy and American jobs and provide situations where fans can easily become victims of scams.
Exactly how did IP perform? I think these examples showed a tremendous amount of preparation. They identified their IP first and exercised a great defense. As with all games, great defenses win championships!
So... Goooooo IP!