Ride the Super Bowl Coattails, Safe From Suits
But it isn't just "Super Bowl" and team names that are protected. Even slogans and catchphrases such as "cheesehead," meaning a Green Bay Packers fan, is a registered trademark, Pelton says.
Still, there is a difference between what would get businesses in actual legal trouble and what would get them in trouble based on the NFL guidelines, says trademark and entertainment attorney Ken Basin, of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger in Los Angeles.
The NFL aggressively sends out cease-and-desist letters if "Super Bowl" is used without permission in a commercial context, but retailers aren't necessarily in legal muck if they do use the term, Basin says.
Individuals and businesses are protected under the First Amendment in what's called "nominative fair use," in which a trademark is allowed to be used if it describes a phrase and lacks commercial intent, Basin says. For instance, an electronics store ad could suggest to customers that they "Come get your TV before the Super Bowl," because it is describing an event.There are also creative ways small businesses can refer to, uh, that event on Sunday without using trademarks, experts say. David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, a publicity and marketing firm that works with small companies, says he often advises clients on how to maximize potential with big events such as the Super Bowl. The trick, he says, is to come up with a clever play on words so consumers clearly understand that the ad is in relation to the Super Bowl -- but never use the exact terms. Consumers seeing the word "super" in an advertisement will consider it a tie-in to the Super Bowl, for example, even though the business is not using the Super Bowl logo. "It does work," Johnson says.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV