It started with ESPN Sports Business Reporter and friend Darren Rovell sitting next to popular basketball analyst and former college basketball coach Bill Raftery on an airplane. Rovell, always thinking on his feet, wondered why Raftery, who has popularized phrases such as “ONIONS” and “With a Kiss” never trademarked them to be able to use the marks, uninhibited, in commerce. Raftery was intrigued and asked Rovell which law firm to speak with concerning the protection process. Rovell referred Raftery to Heitner Legal.
The process of earning registrations for the two trademarks in a variety of international classes was not simple. We had to work through various Office Actions that questioned the veracity of our claim to ownership, which was especially the case with “ONIONS.” That mark was initially blocked mostly by The Onion satirical publication. But after a bit of back-and-forth, we were able to secure the important marks for Raftery, who wanted to make sure he left behind some IP for he and his family to enjoy.
Since earning the registrations, Raftery and his family have earned money through the licensing of the marks to third parties.