Word trickles out of Jets practice that Tim Tebow is now, finally, the legal owner of the term "Tebowing." This doesn't mean you or I can't continue to talk about or write about Tebow. It just means we can't profit off of it. (What does this mean for ESPN, where Tebow=Profit?)
According to ESPN's Jane McManus, Tebow doesn't plan to make any money off his "Tebowing" trademark, since it's a prayer and all. But he wanted more control over it, to keep others from profiting.
The battle over the "Tebowing" trademark is a long and involved one. Last December, at the height of Tebowmania, the man who started the website Tebowing.com filed the paperwork with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Nearly simultaneously, the owner of TebowingGear.com did the same. (Both sites exist to sell t-shirts.) Two weeks later, Tebow's attorney sent a letter of protest, arguing that awarding the Tebowing trademark to someone other than the quarterback "is likely to cause some confusion." The trademark attorney handling the case agreed, denying the two applications because of their "false connection[s] to a living individual."
One of them abandoned their application; the other responded in court, but last month his application was declared dead. Meanwhile, XV Enterprises, Tebow's marketing agency, filed its own trademark application. Last week, it went through. Tebow owns Tebowing.
Even though Tebow says he doesn't plan to profit, what could he do with his trademark? Well, here's the full list, from the USPTO:
Hats; Shirts; T-shirts.
Jewelry, clocks, watches; cuff links, tie pins, ornamental pins, holiday ornaments of precious metal.
DVDs featuring sports and entertainment subjects, namely, football, CDs featuring sports and entertainment subjects, namely, football, blank CD-ROMs for sound or video recordings, sunglasses, sound recordings featuring sports and entertainment subjects, namely, football, video recordings featuring sports and entertainment subjects, namely, football, USB sticks, computer game software, mobile phone applications, namely, electronic game software.
Men's, women's, and children's clothing, footwear and headwear, namely, t-shirts, shirts, sweat shirts, jerseys, shorts, sweat pants, jackets, skirts, dresses, visors, hats, caps, scarves, gloves, one piece garment for infants and toddlers, infant cloth bibs, hosiery, neckties, pajamas, robes, night shirts, night gowns, underwear, head bands, wrist bands, swim suits, tank tops, pants, coats, sweaters, leotards, leg warmers, stockings, socks, panty hose, tights, belts, shoes, athletic shoes, slippers, boots, sandals and rainwear.
Paper goods, namely, posters, school supplies, namely, pencils, glue, folders, crayons; books in the field of sports, magazines in the field of sports, party goods, namely, paper plates, napkins, paper cups; playing cards, stationery, mounted and unmounted photographs, comic books, calendars, notebooks, memo pads, pens, pencils, stickers, erasers, pencil sharpeners, pencil cases, staplers, writing paper, envelopes, paper weights, paper coasters, paper mats, giftwrap paper, drawing rulers, postcards and trading cards; money clips.
Education services, namely, providing on-line classes, seminars and workshops in the field of physical fitness training and training for football; providing a website featuring online sports training and training advice; organization of exhibitions for educational, cultural, sporting, and entertainment purposes; entertainment services, namely, personal appearances by a sports celebrity.
Sporting goods, toys, and games, namely, bobble head dolls, gymnastic and sporting articles, namely, fitness training apparatus, footballs; target games, kites, toy action figures, board games and card games, disc toss toys, archery bows and arrows, balls of all kinds, dolls and playsets therefor, plush toys, toy vehicles, toy cars, toy trucks, toy bucket and shovel sets, roller skates, hobby craft kits for constructing toy model airplanes, toy rockets, toy guns, toy holsters, musical toys, jigsaw puzzles, badminton sets, bubble making wands and solution sets, modeled plastic toy figurines, toy banks, puppets, toy balloons, yo-yos, skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, wakeboards, skis, toy scooters and costume masks; hand-held units for playing electronic and video games for use with external display screen or monitor.
So don't try to stick the word Tebowing, or a picture of anyone Tebowing, on anything that's not a homemade get-well-soon card for your grandmother. Tebow's lawyers are watching.