The New England Patriots are apparently so confident that they will win the Super Bowl and finish the season with a perfect 19 and 0 record, that on January 17, 2008, they filed trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect the “19-0 The Perfect Season” and “19-0” trademarks on numerous goods and services. Click To See The Applications. Not to be outdone and to show support for the New York Giants, the New York Post newspaper has reportedly filed a trademark application for “18-1.”
The Patriots, however, may be dismayed to learn that they were beaten to the punch. William Harpole – who was apparently more confident than the Patriots – filed a trademark application for “19-0 The Perfect Season” over two months earlier. Click To See Harpole’s Application. Nine years earlier, Mr. Harpole – a possible clairvoyant – had also filed a trademark application for “The Perfect Season 19-0” on December 7, 1998. But the 1998 application was later unwisely abandoned, thereby drawing the previous “possible clairvoyant” accolade into question.
Because Mr. Harpole’s current trademark application filing date precedes the Patriot’s application by over two months, Mr. Harpole’s application is superior to that of the Patriot’s and a trademark dispute and possible litigation may follow. See 37 C.F.R. § 2.83.
The Patriots are not the first to attempt trademarking a sport-related-term. In 1988, Pat Riley, the then coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, registered the trademark for “Three Peat” with the Patent and Trademark Office. Unfortunately, the Lakers lost the next year in the finals and Coach Riley had to wait until the Chicago Bulls won three championships in a row to cash in on his trademark investment. Click To See Riley’s Trademark.