If the U.S. women’s Olympic team wants to capitalize on their gold medal win, they may need to hire an experienced trademark attorney. The group’s famous nickname—the Fab Five—is already trademarked by NBA player Jalen Rose.
Unlike others who have tried to profit from the success of others (see our posts on Linsanity), Rose does have a claim to the “Fab Five” catchphrase. Rose was a member of the University of Michigan’s basketball team of 1991, which was given the same nickname by the media. Rose registered the phrase as a trademark last year, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Some have suggested that Rose, who now works as an analyst for ESPN, could make a significant payday by licensing the trademark; however, it may be a moot issue.
According to BusinessWeek, the gymnasts actually prefer the term “Fierce Five,” which is currently available with the USPTO. According to USA Gymnastics spokeswoman Luan Peszek, the organization plans to use the Fierce Five catchphrase, although it did cite the trademark restriction as the reason.
As this case highlights, celebrities and others in the public spotlight often have no say over the catchphrases attached to them in the media and whether they will be available to seek trademark protection.
For businesses that can control their brand, the first step should always be a thorough trademark search. For more information about pursuing patent applications outside of the United States, we encourage you to contact an attorney at Sheldon Mak & Anderson.
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