Aside from creating plenty of fodder for gossip magazines lately, Charlie Sheen has also given intellectual property lawyers plenty to talk about — namely who owns the rights to phrases that have become linked to him such as “Adonis DNA,” “Tiger’s Blood,” and, of course, “Winning.”
The Hollywood Reporter notes that there’s been a mad dash to the U.S. Trademark Office as people try to register trademarks for phrases playing on some of Sheen’s most memorable utterances, such as “Winning,” “World Wine Winning Connections,” and “Friendship, Who’s Winning?”
Two of the more bizarre registrations are “Tiger Blood TV,” a website full of Sheen clips and “Adonis DNA” for “a line of dietary and nutritional supplements.” The Hollywood Reporter also notes that a trademark battle could be on the way as Sheen himself has already printed up t-shirts and other items with his phrases — some of which are accompanied by his image — to be sold on his upcoming tour.
You may be wondering at this point, “Can you even trademark a catchphrase?” Yes, you can, and if you have a particular signature phrase of your own you might consider going that extra step and trademarking it. Why?
Your claim to a catchphrase arises when you first use it in commerce without any kind of registration with the government; if you register it, though, you have protection if an infringement suit is filed against you and it also puts people nationwide on notice that you are the trademark owner of that particular phrase. Through registration, you also gain the right to file a lawsuit against someone you feel has infringed on your trademark.
Will Charlie Sheen’s lawyers’ soon be “at war” regarding trademarks? In the words of Sheen, “Defeat is not an option,” so we’ll just have to keep an eye on his “winning” strategy.