Athlete Trademark of the Week - Tim Lincecum

Athlete Trademark of the Week – Tim Lincecum

When most people think about trademarks, they probably think of marks like "Coca-Cola," "Kleenex" or other well-recognized brand names. But trademarks can be broader than just words and phrases. They can also be sounds like the Intel Chimes, videos like the MGM Lion Roar, and even pictures like the NBC Peacock.

A trademark can be anything that acts as a source identifier.

Legal translation: When you hear the Intel (bum, BUM, bum, BUM!) you know the company. When you see that scratchy, old lion roar, you know who produced the movie. And when you see the NBC peacock, you know you're watching 30 Rock (are there any other shows worth watching on NBC?).

Along those lines, today's athlete trademark of the week is not a word or phrase, it's a picture.

Can you guess who it is?

Tim Lincecum Trademark Image

And if you can't get it from that, you're not trying. But if you need another hint, here's another of his marks with his team colors.

Tim Lincecum Trademark Ball Image

Yes,it's Tim Lincecum, the 5' 11" pitcher. Despite his size, he can generate a heck of a lot of velocity. And given that he is a World Series Champion and two-time Cy Young winner, he is someone that needs trademark protection.

Legal translation: After this, I guess you can say he has a "trademarked" pitching style.

And his two marks are this week's Trademark of the Week. My hat is off to the artist for capturing Lincecum's unique pitching style in such a simple mark.

Now, although he is receiving two trademarks, I did find it odd that Lincecum does not have any pending applications for "The Freak," (the nickname that arises due to his small size and unorthodox pitching style) which I think acts as a better source identifier.

Legal suggestion: Hey Tim Lincecum, file a trademark application for "The Freak." What's the worst that can happen?

I have to confess, Lincecum is my favorite pitcher, so of course, I recognized his silhouette in the trademarks instantly. I also agree with the Trademark Office’s decision to award him these trademarks.

Legal translation: If you are familiar with Lincecum, when you look at those marks, you know who it is. It's a true source identifier.

However, I was curious to see if others would recognize the mark as easily. Unfortunately, I polled two of the alleged sports fans in my office. Although I work with several smart people who are also baseball fans, they both failed.

One even responded, "Hey, it could be any woman with long hair."

And then he sent me the below mark with an email that simply stated "See? Hair."

NPF Image

The National Pro Fastpitch league trademark? Seriously?

There's more similarity between Steven Seagal's silhouette in Marked for Death than the NPF.

Marked for Death Poster 202x300 Image

Maybe if you rotate it a little.

No matter what, congratulations to Tim Lincecum on his eventual receipt of two trademark registrations. And also thanks to my colleagues because their failure to recognize Lincecum gave me the opportunity to surf the web for half-an-hour (at work) looking for the perfect silhouette of a man with a ponytail. Who knew it would be Seagal?

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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