The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) recently published for opposition the mark TIM TEBOW. The applicant for the mark in these various goods and services is XV Enterprises LLC of Denver, Colorado, who has indicated that Tim Tebow, the two-time Heisman Trophy winner and New York Jets quarterback (formerly with the Denver Broncos), has consented to the applications.
The publication for opposition is a procedural step where the PTO gives notice to the public that an application has passed Examining Attorney review by publishing information about the application in the PTO’s Official Gazette. The application reflects the “intent to use” the TIM TEBOW mark on goods and services including in class 9 for DVDs featuring sports and entertainment subjects, sound recordings, and computer games; in class 41 relating to on-line education and entertainment in the field of training and sports; in class 25 for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, footwear and headwear; in class 28 relating to sporting goods, toys and games; in class 14 for jewelry and watches; and in class 16 relating to paper goods, posters, school supplies and books in the field of sports. Other applications for marks using the name “Tebow” or a variation of it also are pending before the PTO.
The publication of an application starts a 30-day period during which third parties who believe that they will be harmed by registration of the subject mark can either file an opposition with the PTO, or request an extension of time to oppose. If no opposition is filed, the application will either be allowed or registration will be granted, depending on the application’s filing basis. If an opposition is brought, the proceeding will be heard by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative tribunal that is part of the PTO.
In examining a celebrity-related trademark application, the PTO applies federal Trademark Law, including Sections 2(a) and 2(c) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052. Section 2(a) scrutinizes whether a mark falsely suggests a connection with another person who is not the applicant. Similarly, Section 2(c) bars a mark identifying a living person, unless that person has consented in writing to the mark, as Tim Tebow has done here.
This past winter, we reported on the rush to the PTO in the wake of “Linsanity” attributed to the quick rise of former New York Knicks (and now Houston Rockets) point guard Jeremy Lin.