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'Johnny Football' looks to protect his nickname with a trademark

Texas A&M's outstanding quarterback, Johnny Manziel, rewrote the record books last weekend when he became the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy. His cavalier style of play and improvisation on the field make him one of the most exciting players in the NCAA -- and those traits earned him the nickname "Johnny Football."

As it turns out, Manziel's likeness and his new moniker are wildly popular, being used by numerous companies and organizations. That creates a big problem for Manziel and Texas A&M because the NCAA explicitly bans their student-athletes, and the institutions they represent, from profiting due to their athletic accomplishments. A violation of this rule can make a player permanently ineligible from NCAA competition.

So what is being done to control the situation? Well, the Manziel family is teaming up with Texas A&M to trademark the name "Johnny Football." This gives the Manziel family and the university a legal leg to stand on when other organizations try to profit from using Manziel's likeness. As a result, Texas A&M has filed 10 cease-and-desist orders against groups that have used Manziel's likeness.

Trademarks are vital for any business; but as you can see, they are very important for individuals as well. It can safeguard a person's unique idea; it can guarantee that other people or parties do not unjustly profit from someone's trademarked idea; and it can ensure that the trademarked entity is not portrayed in a negative way.

It is critical for any person or organization considering a trademark to consult an experienced attorney. Such legal insight can ensure you go about the trademark process appropriately, greatly reducing the chance of a clerical error causing you or your organization a legal nightmare.

Source: Intellectual Property Brief, "Manziel Family and Texas A&M move to trademark 'Johnny Football' Nickname," Daniel Jang, Nov. 29, 2012

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