It will be a super Sunday for more than just Seahawks and Broncos: For those focused on intellectual property protection — hello, Entertainment Law practitioners — it’s worth looking at how vigorously the National Football League pursues those who get offsides on matters legal and linked to the brand, whether through references to the game to chasing down illegal merchandise. Super Celebration Fair? Really? Let’s explain:
It is no secret that the pro football league aggressively enforces its trademarks, including the shield logo, the letter combo NFL and itts team logos. And in advance of the event at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., there is no question that many will or already have made counterfeit memorabilia to capitalize on the hype surrounding this big game.
Knowing that millions of fans will watch the Super Bowl and thousands more will be participate in events, official and unofficial, throughout New York and New Jersey, what should local and national advertisers and merchants do to get their share of the pigskin dough — legally — when they are not an official sponsor? As the Intellectual Property Brief points out, the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl Committee says the term, “Super Celebration Fair,” or references along those lines are OK. But look out for more than referees’ flags to fly — can we guess nasty letters, or squads of lawyers bursting through the lines — for those who improperly seek to exploit the NFL shield, team logos or “Super Bowl” in advertising, marketing and social media campaigns. You may see such usage of course, reserved for official sponsors such as Papa Johns. ‘Za? Peanuts? Beer? Is it game time yet?