Désirée Fields of Pinsent Masons said it can be difficult to register movements, sounds and other “non-traditional” elements of a mark as a mark. However, ahead of the US Open tennis event which kicks off next week, she said some of the best tennis players in the world may be inspired by Bolt’s trademark application.
“Names and logos are often the primary characteristics by which consumers would recognize a brand, however, athletes, tournament organizers and event sponsors should consider all elements of their sports brand and determine if other elements brands have the potential to add value to a brand and provide opportunities for marketing,” Fields said.
“While it is generally difficult to obtain trademark protection for unusual elements of a mark, some of the world’s top athletes have protected gestures and expressions that are considered unique to them, as this may increase their brand value or allow them to market items,” she says.
According to Fields, a mark must be sufficiently distinctive and unique to a player in order to attract trademark protection. She said it would be “highly doubtful” if an athlete would be granted a monopoly on something like an underarm serve, unless there was perhaps something particularly unusual about the execution of the serve. this service.
The “trademark” underarm serve of “Nick Kyrgios”, the Black Panther “Wakanda forever” salute that Gael Monfils executes to celebrate his victories, and the breathtaking celebration of Novak Djokovic at the four sides of the stadium or his ceremonial eating weed every time he wins the Wimbledon championships are moves that will likely be globally recognizable,” Fields said. “The real question is whether any of these recognizable features could be protected by trademarks.”
Tennis players have successfully registered trademarks of their own in the past.
Fields said: “Niclas Kroon, known for the ‘Vicht’ salute, registered the rights to an associated mark in 1988. When he forgot to renew the registration, Lleyton Hewitt, who had himself adopted that symbol, took advantage of this and registered the trademark for clothing and accessories.”
“Anyone who knows tennis will associate the words ‘You can’t be serious’ with John McEnroe – a phrase he owned the trademark rights to,” she said.