I’m posting this year’s Super Bull post early because it seems that companies who are not official sponsors of “the Big Game” (that’s the Super Bowl if you didn’t know) are getting an early start on publishing cute references to the Super Bowl.
I won’t re-hash the legal issues and ridiculousness of it all, you can find that on many other blogs, including this one:
So, I’ll just present this year’s example, brought to you by my Dad, who received this e-mail from PayPal:
Ok, ha-ha. But I wonder if companies are just having fun with the absurdity of it at this point. Does PayPal honestly believe that it cannot use the Super Bowl mark descriptively? When people run contests to win an Apple iPad, they don’t feel compelled to advertise it with, “Win a device made by a company that’s named after a fruit and makes a rectangular thing with a screen and buttons.”
Just make a conspicuous disclaimer that the contest isn’t endorsed, sponsored, approved, blessed, baptized, or otherwise supported by the NFL. Then, let the catharsis begin – just call it the damn Super Bowl. [CONSPICUOUS DISCLAIMER – that’s not legal advice. If you do that, the NFL may sue you.]
Even the fine-print rules of the contest don’t call the prize for what it is – a trip to the Super Bowl:
And don’t even get me started on the NFL’s attempt to register “THE BIG GAME” as a trademark a few years ago. It later abandoned the application, but in doing so it admitted that it was trying to prevent “ambush marketing” of the Super Bowl by using “The Big Game” instead. With that logic, expect a trademark application for “The game we cannot name” to be in the works… Intellectual property attorneys are usually safe from lawyer jokes, but not in this case.
National FirstAmendment Losers.