Texas A&M, Manziel Family Working to Trademark "Johnny Football"

By Jason Priestas on November 11, 2012 at 9:55a

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Rfahncke's picture

The University could aquire the trademark and introduce it into commerce immediately, then the family could purchase the trademark after eligibility is expired.
The family could aquire it and donate all proceeds to charity until eligibility is expired (i.e club trillion)

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

Jason Priestas's picture

I don't think the university could do that, but don't quote me on that. I think they can do jerseys with numbers on them but that's about the extent of it when it comes to making money off a current athlete's likeness or name. 

NW Buckeye's picture

My brain says "this is OK", but my heart says "Really?"   Call me old school, but I just can't help feeling a little repulsed by all this.  Every time I have heard "johnny football" I throw up a little in my mouth.  Whatever happened to playing for the love of the game?  Oh yeah, that died the day "Broadway Joe" started spouting his rhetoric many years ago.  Maybe it's the coach in me that is so turned off by it. 

William's picture

Don't worry NW Buckeye, I find this repulsive as well. Also I may be wrong, but I believe that once one signs their Letter of Intent it gives the NCAA the rights to one's likeness for forever and eternity, or some garbage like that. 

JKH1232's picture

Well, all thoughs about "Johnny Football" as a nickname aside, here's the truth.  Someone out there will make "Johnny Football" merchandise.  They will sell it, and make money off of it, all without this kid's say so, permission, or giving him a dime.  This way, at least he controls the trademark.
After all, what if a Texas or, now Alabama fan, trademarks "Johnny Football," and uses it to make derogatory or obscene merchandise with his name on it?  They own the trademark, and now the Manziel family has to fight them over their "Johnny Football Eats Poop" t-shirt.  Even if they don't make any money, it's a way to protect themselves.  And if they do make money, so what?

NW Buckeye's picture

That's why I said my brain says "that's OK".  But that doesn't make it any more appealling.  There's just something that is awry with promoting a college football player like a Mattel toy - here's Johnny Football dating Barbie! - Oh my, what will Ken say??!!!!   LMAO!   I just don't see what is wrong with "Johnny Manziel" as a brand (that's a great name).  Don't know how the nickname originated, and don't really care.  Somewhere along the line he and/or his family perpetuated all this.  It is just as rediculous as "Tebowing".  I know it may be necessary in today's world of marketing and trademarks, but it is a shame that it has all boiled down to that. 

JKH1232's picture

Football players have always been promoted and marketed, since The Four Horsemen, Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside, right down to Johnny Football.  Oh, and XBrax360. 
I mean, is it any different than selling T-Shirts that say Cool Brees, In Tressel We Trust, or Ray Lewis' jersey?  Or is it wrong because he's 18, not three years removed from his last high school game and declared for the draft?

NW Buckeye's picture

You are correct, many nicknames for various players.  Just wondering - how many of them have trademarked their nicknames while in college?  I really don't know.  And, FWIW, the Brax nickname you cited is not used on national broadcasts, or at least I have not noticed it.  Yesterday's Bama game had JF's all through the broadcast.  I don't have any problem with that, but the need to "trademark" that might bring up some interesting consequences.  What happens with the announcers' use of "Johnny Football" during their broadcasts?  If it is indeed trademarked, the holders of that trademark could seek royalties for such use.  The whole trade marking thing could back fire as I could see network execs restricting or prohibiting the use of such trademark in their reporting or broadcasting.  As you pointed out, the trade marking could be a tool to prevent unauthorized derogatory paraphernalia, but with that trademark process you could also have unintended consequences.  Sounds like a huge can of worms that will have the NCAA weighing in at some point. 
And he is 19, soon to be 20 (Dec) and will be 2 years removed from HS in Jan (early enrollee). 

johnblairgobucks's picture

How long till a statue commemorating "his" victory over Alabama is unveiled next to the Iwo Gima Monument in Washington DC?

Sarah's picture

When Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from LSU before the season started, I thought, "Thank god we no longer have to deal with a college football player having a dumb nickname that people beat into the ground after about five seconds."

Oh how naive I was...

johnblairgobucks's picture

yeah, the kid's promoters may want to be carefull.  The Torch has been passed from "Shoe Lace" to "Honey Badger" and now on to "Johnny".  With each passing, it needs re-lit. 

smith5568's picture

He could file an intent-to-use (ITU) application with the USPTO. As long as he continues to petition for extensions he would be protected for few years without "use in commerce."   

cplunk's picture

Eh, I'm okay with it. Go get your money, son.
hopefully he charges ESPN every time they say it.