The New York Knicks’ rising superstar point guard, Jeremy Lin, continues to wow fans around the world. Lin’s NBA ascent also has prompted a rush to the Trademark Office.
Over 20 applications for word marks that bear the letters L-I-N already have been filed. These include LIN-SATIONAL; ALL LIN; LINSPIRATION; I’M A LINNER; LINSOMNIA: LINCREDIBLE; and other derivations using the star’s last name. The frenzy began with applications for the seemingly ubiquitous LINSANITY catch phrase, which were filed on February 7 and February 9, as the star’s career took off. Most of the applications to date have been filed on an intent to use basis, that is, the applicant has expressed a bona fide intent to use the mark in interstate commerce.
Two of the applications appear to be made by Mr. Lin himself, and claim the word marks Jeremy Lin and LINSANITY for goods in Classes 18, 21, 25, 28 and 32, relating to, e.g., sports bags; cups and mugs; clothing; action figures and sporting goods; and sports drinks.
Of course, these applications will be scrutinized under federal trademark law, including Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which examines whether a mark falsely suggests a connection with another person who is not the applicant; as well as Section 2(c), which bars a mark identifying a living person, unless that person has consented in writing to the mark, 15 U.S.C. § 1052. Both provisions auger well for Mr. Lin’s applications. These trademark developments will be closely watched, as will the young star’s promising career.
Ralph A. Dengler is a Director in the Gibbons Intellectual Property Department.