San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has applied for a trademark of the term “Kaepernicking,” the pose he strikes after scoring a touchdown in which his puckered lips motion a kiss toward his flexed bicep.
Kaepernick is hardly the first athlete to attempt to trademark a term linked with him. Over the past several months, we’ve seen applications for “Linsanity” by the NBA’s Jeremy Lin, “Johnny Football” by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, and “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” by the NBA’s Anthony Davis.
And, of course, there was “Tebowing,” NFL star Tim Tebow’s taking a knee to pray, which started the trend of linking an action with an athlete’s name and then the athlete trademarking it.
While the widespread use of such trademarked terms tend to fizzle out rather quickly, the goal of athletes who move to protect their names is to ensure that “[i]f anybody is going to be able to make money from merchandise that involves that mark, it should be the athlete himself or herself,” according to William and Mary law professor Laura Heymann (as quoted in America Public Media’s Marketplace).
Indeed, Kaepernick has been advertising t-shirts featuring the phrase via his Twitter account (pictured above). A portion of the t-shirt proceeds go to Camp Taylor, a charity for children with heart diseases with which Kaepernick is involved.
What do you think of this trend in trademarks?