Sunday, February 19, 2012
Jeremy Lin files for trademark protection for "Linsanity"
On February 13, 2012, New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin, through the law firm of Arent Fox LLP, filed for trademark protection for the "Linsanity" name. According to the filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, he filed for protection for a variety of uses, such as on backpacks, clothing, water bottles, caps, toys, action figures, and sports drinks. The filing is actually filed after two other individuals from California who filed a few days prior to Lin. There are certain Right to Publicity laws in California that protect celebrities names. California Civil Code Section 3344 states that a person shall not use another's name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person's prior consent. Obviously, the term "Linsanity" would have to fall within the definition of his name to qualify for this protection. Often someone who files for the trademark and gets the application approved gains rights if they filed prior to another. However, there are common law trademark rights that can apply if the trademark was used in commerce prior to the filing. It is not just cut and dry of who files first. Lin's counsel will probably be much more willing and able to pursue the trademark application through to the end and can oppose the other trademark applications, so we can't guarantee it, but I would guess that the other trademark filers will not get very far in their attempts to cash in on the "Linsanity." Interestingly, one of the other filers is from Los Altos in California which is right next to Lin's hometown of Palo Alto.