FindLaw's Common Law

Consumer protection legal news from FindLaw.com.




August 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

FindLaw Blogs


FindLaw Blotter
Free Enterprise
Injured
Law & Daily Life


If you're looking for information on common law marriage, please visit the Common Law Marriage section on FindLaw.

« Natasha Richardson Dies After Ski Accident: The Need for a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney | Main | Eagle Scout Brian Lenz Gets no Jail Time for Deadly "Ring of Fire": Prosecutors Have Wide Discretion in Charging Crimes and Making Deals »

March Madness, The Big Dance and Trademark Infringement

March Madness tipped off today, but the full court press against alleged infringers of NCAA trademarks started long ago.

The LA Times reports that according to lawyers for the NCAA, the economic downturn and increased internet options have resulted in more people trying to turn a buck off the NCAA's trademarks. These trademarks include March Madness, The Big Dance, Elite Eight, Final Four, and a slew of others.

Some of these phrases had long histories prior to NCAA use. For example, as explained by Slate, March Madness was coined in 1939 by Henry V. Porter in relation to Illinois high school basketball. Legal wrangling between the Illinois High School Association and the NCAA resulted in a sort of joint ownership, with the NCAA being able to stop others from using it in relation to college basketball.

So, what exactly constitutes trademark infringement? Trademark infringement is commercial use of a trademark that is likely to cause confusion amongst consumers as to the source of the goods or services being sold. Commercial use typically means earning or soliciting some sort of income from use of the trademark. Off-shoots of the trademark (like March Badness) would also be off limits if they are close enough to still cause consumer confusion about the source of goods or services.

If a trademark is found to be "famous," its owner may sue for trademark dilution, even if there is no likelihood that consumers will be confused. Dilution means commercial use that decreases the value of a famous trademark through "blurring" or "tarnishment." Blurring means causing a famous trademark to become associated with different goods or services. Tarnishment means causing it to become associated with something inferior or unseemly.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451609d69e20112797c6c2728a4

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference March Madness, The Big Dance and Trademark Infringement:



Subscribe



Archives




Common Law Vanguard Panel

The following firms have assisted the FindLaw editorial team in identifying emerging trends in consumer protection law and topics of importance to readers of this blog: