High profile athletes who are between their last game of college and their first game of professional ball would do themselves a strong service to put a competent attorney on retainer. The earlier said athlete hires such a lawyer to start putting his business affairs in order, the more likely that athlete will profit off of his intellectual property rights for years to come.
Take Robert Griffin III (RG III or RG3) for example. Griffin played his college ball at Baylor University, where he became one of the most sought after quarterbacks in the United States and won the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 2011. His abilities and accolades allowed him to be the 2nd overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, selected by the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Not only is Griffin talented on the field, but he also displays a glowing personality, amazing wit, and is known for his quirky socks collection.
Other athletes need to follow the lead of Griffin. Following his declaration for the NFL Draft, Griffin hired an attorney. Thereafter, he created his own company, Thr3escompany, LLC and submitted applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a total of four trademarks – RGIII, RG3, Robert Griffin III, and Unbelievably Believable. The first three trademark filings were made for “Shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, footwear, hats, caps, athletic uniforms.” But, why the last phrase? At the ceremony where Griffin received the Heisman Trophy, he said the following:
“This is unbelievably believable. It’s unbelievable because in the moment we’re all amazed when great things happen. But it’s believable because great things don’t happen without hard work.”
The phrase “unbelievably believable” got quite a bit of attention after the ceremony, as well. The following clip is from CBS News:
Griffin’s filing for “unbelievably believable” is a bit different than the previous three filings. He hopes to use the phrase for “promoting the goods and services of others, sponsorship of sports and athletic events and activities.”
Jeremy Lin is fighting for the “Linsanity” trademark and Tim Tebow is fighting to own the “Tebowing” trademark. It is refreshing to see a young man like Robert Griffin be ahead of the curve and proactively begin to protect his intellectual property before any potential disputes arise. I am always available for a consultation regarding such matters.