In January, professional wrestler Rhonda Rousey filed a trademark for the “Rowdy” term. In March, the University of Maryland Baltimore County filed several trademarks after its historic win in college basketball when the No. 16 seed defeated the No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In April, Boston Marathon winner Desiree Linden filed a trademark for “Keep Showing Up” to use on athletic gear. By filing for trademarks, these athletes and/or associations can capitalize on the accomplishments they have made.
People remember winners. Winning takes an abundance of skill and sometimes luck. When a remarkable win occurs, fans revere the athletes and their hard work. Therefore, it makes sense for athletes to capitalize on their wins by trademarking terms that the public associates with them. Obtaining a trademark is one way athletes can take control over who uses their likeness (or personal brand). It also gives them a way to continue earning money based on their skills, accomplishments, and dedication.
If athletes do not file for trademarks that people associate with their likeness, then other people and companies may try to make money on the hard work accomplished by these athletes. Furthermore, others may misrepresent or even abuse the likeness of a person, which could damage their reputation and downplay their capabilities. By filing for trademarks, these athletes are better armed to protect their image.
Not only are winners often an elite group of people, they are unique. For instance, there is only one Rhonda Rousey and one Desiree Linden. While other athletes exist in the same sport, their stories, skills, and accomplishments are always different. There is never the same story in any given win. Therefore, the logos, phrases, names, and terms for which these athletes apply are unique to those athletes. Furthermore, the more these athletes win or the more remarkable a win is, the more likely a trademark is warranted.
As athletes continue to achieve remarkable feats and set new records, the distinctive trademarks associated with them will continue to prove valuable to them.