Sports Law Trademarks

LA Times Highlights The Smart Personal Branding By Fred VanVleet

We love a recent article written by Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Titled, Branded or not, Raptors teammates sport their own signature gear, Woike looks at how various members of the Raptors are taking branding into their own hands, with some going the extra step to ensure that their marks are protected.

One athlete featured in the piece is Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who contributed 21 points in the Raptors Game 5 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Woike has taken notice of VanVleet’s ambition and desire to protect and build his own brand, and Heitner Legal has assisted throughout the process.

VanVleet created a very unique logo, which Heitner Legal has helped get registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and a slogan — “Bet On Yourself — which is pending registration as a design mark, as well.

Woike spoke with USC sports business associate professor David Carter for some good insight on why VanVleet and other athletes are taking branding and protecting their marks into their own hands.

“Athletes are increasingly trying to establish their personal brands in the hopes of extending them in a way that differentiates themselves from other athletes,” Carter said to Woike. “Done properly, this can lead to a unique brand that they can monetize. Creating a customized logo that resonates with fans can certainly help in this regard.”

Now, other players on the Raptors are trying to learn from VanVleet’s moves and create their own brands as well. Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam were inspired by VanVleet to create their own branded logos.