March 26, 2014

Johnny Trademark: The Battle for Johnny Football

by Guest Blogger

There is good news and bad news this week for Johnny Manziel.

The bad news: the NFL banned dunking over the goal post. As a result, the Heisman winner will not be able to show off his skills for our entertainment. Fortunately, we will always have this YouTube video.

The good news: Manziel is one step closer to obtaining a trademark for his nickname, "Johnny Football." You may remember Manziel rising to prominence in the Fall of 2012 with plays like this:

With his rise, came the rise of the great nickname. In November 2012, Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, an entity not associated with Manziel, filed for the mark "Johnny Football" and claimed that the phrase was not referring to a particular individual. Three months later, JMAN2 Enterprises, an organization affiliated with Manziel, filed for the trademark. The JMAN2 filing was placed on hold pending resolution of the Reynolds filing.

Recently, the USPTO rejected the Reynolds filing, stating, "Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual whose written consent to register the mark is not of record." The examiner at the USPTO attached articles to the rejection that specifically referred to Johnny Manziel as "Johnny Football." This clears a major impediment to Manziel's acquisition of the mark. Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments has six months to ask the USPTO to reconsider the rejection or appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Once the Reynolds filing is finally resolved, the JMAN2 filing will move forward.

Soon Johnny Football may own "Johnny Football."

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