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April 13, 2020
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At the end of the 2019 NFL season, the handwriting seemed on the wall for the New England Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick, impatient with failure, seemed ready to move on from his 6 time Super Bowl champion quarterback. And the quarterback himself began signalling that his days of throwing soul-crushing strikes to the likes of Julian Edelman and “Gronk” at Gillette Stadium were coming to an end. But not his career.
Down south on I-95, Super Bowl nemesis (and for many outside of Big Blue nation a dubious Hall of Fame candidate) Eli Manning called it quits after 16 years leading the Giants. Although drafted by San Diego, Eli’e entire career had been spent in Blue, with two improbable Super Bowl W’s over the Patriots, the two gems in an otherwise quotidian career. It was a foregone conclusion that the junior Manning would not emulate big brother Peyton and continue his career in another uniform.
But what about the King of New England? The guy had entered his mid-forties in elite condition, thanks largely to a strict diet of eating absolutely nothing anyone would classify as “delicious,” He gave no hint that the Patriots would be his one and only stop on the NFL train. Indeed, he entered 2020 as an unrestricted free agent. And many teams needed a boost at the QB position and the box office.
So what factors and criteria would guide the soon to be former Patriot’s rebellious decision to leave the cradle of the Revolution? How was the Pats undisputed GOAT to choose where to take his talents?
Well, based on filings at the USPTO, one of those criterion apparently was trademarks! Last week, the new QB for the Florida team called The Buccaneers filed two applications for trademarks that could not have been coined if he had signed with any other team: TOMPA BAY and TAMPA BRADY. Both applications were filed based on Mr. Brady’s sworn bona fide intent to use each mark on “Clothing; Headwear; Footwear.” Both appear to have been “audibles,” strategically filed to preempt others from cashing-in on Brady’s lucrative persona. Mr. Brady now will have up to 36 months to begin selling his new signature product line once the Trademark Office approves his applications.
It’s not unusual for sporting legends to brand themselves and use their brands to sell merchandise. Michael Jordan with his AIR JORDAN comes to mind. But it’s either a lucky coincidence or sheer marketing genius for a player to choose to write the last chapter of a legendary career at the one place that synched with his first and last name to provide such potent brand potential.
Maybe Eli Manning would still be looking forward to another season if the NFL had accelerated its UK expansion plans with a team in Manchester?
Clients and colleagues value Rob Litowitz as an outstanding IP attorney, strategist, persuasive writer, and advocate who distills complex facts and issues into winning themes and narratives.
It’s a blessing for a man to have a hand in determining his own fate.
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