November 05, 2014

Let's Get Ready to Trademark: A Breakdown of Sports Announcer Catchphrase Trademarks

by Guest Blogger


Last week, polarizing college basketball announcer Bill Raftery filed trademark applications for his catchphrases "onions" and "with a kiss." This is not the former Seton Hall coach's first foray into the trademark world. In 2010, Raftery filed an application for the mark WITH A KISS, but it was abandoned in 2012.

Maybe Raftery was pinning his college basketball board on Pinterest when he came across the shirt pictured to the right with the following caption "HOMAGE Bill Raftery Onions College Basketball Big Shot T-Shirt - $20.00" and decided to give trademark protection another go. Maybe not.

The onions aficionado is not the first sports announcer to seek federal trademark protection for his "trademark" catchphrase. In 1991, Marv Albert sought protection for "Yes, and it counts!" The mark was registered in 1993, but cancelled in 2000 because Albert failed to file a Section 8 Declaration of Continued Use swearing that his mark was in use in commerce.

The greatest success story in sports announcer trademarks likely belongs to the greatest ring announcer in history, Michael Buffer. Buffer has over a dozen federally registered trademarks related to his "Let's get ready to rumble" catchphrase. You know the one:

According to an ABC report in 2009, Buffer had already generated over $400 million in revenue from trademarking his catchphrase.

If Raftery succeeds in obtaining federal protection for his catchphrases, he will hope to echo Buffer's success. Even if he can't, we can always (hopefully) enjoy his memorable expressions through the power of YouTube.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.