September 17, 2014

Johnny Manziel Trademark Déjà Vu: The Kenny Hill Story

by Guest Blogger

The good people at Texas A&M certainly understand the importance of federal trademark protection. Maybe it stems from Texas A&M's successful registration and enforcement of its 12TH MAN mark. Regardless, it seems that whoever is QB1 for the Aggies can't help but pursue federal trademark protection.

Meet Kenny Hill AKA Kenny Trill, the heir to Johnny Manziel's Heisman pose.

Mr. Hill burst onto the scene by throwing for over 500 yards in A&M's upset victory over South Carolina in college football's opening week. After that, the nicknames poured-in. Many went with the obvious choice, Kenny Football, an homage to Manziel's moniker Johnny Football. Hill had different ideas, announcing that he preferred the nickname "Kenny Trill." For those unfamiliar with the musical stylings of rapper Bun B, the term "trill" was born of a combination of the words "true" and "real."

[caption id="attachment_3977" align="alignright" width="300"]

Hill Manziel

Johnny Manziel (possibly) providing Kenny Hill with trademark advice.[/caption]

After Hill's proclamation, on September 3, 2014, his parents applied to register the mark KENNY TRILL. There was just one problem; on September 2, 2013, another individual applied to register the same mark. Sound familiar? You may remember when we wrote about the Johnny Trademark saga, chronicling Mr. Manziel's efforts to register the mark JOHNNY FOOTBALL. Similar story, different Texas A&M starting QB.

As a refresher, Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1052(c), bars the registration of a mark that consists of or comprises a name, portrait or signature which identifies a particular living individual, except by the written consent of such individual. Section 2(c) applies not only to full names, but also to any first name, surname, shortened name, pseudonym, stage name, title, or nickname that identifies a particular living individual.

Therefore, if Mr. Trill's Hill's parents can demonstrate that the nickname "Kenny Trill" is used to identify their son, they can likely overcome the prior application for the mark (assuming that Mr. Hill does not give the prior applicant his written consent). With only a few games under his belt, however, Mr. Hill's parents may have trouble proving that, at least according to Bun B.

Bun B

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.