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Trademarks in sports: an overview - Part 1 of 3

Tiger Woods
Monday, 02 September 2013 By Leonard Glickman, Jonathan Sherman

In this 3 part series Canadian entertainment and sports lawyer Len Glickman and his colleagues Michael Alvaro, Evan Eliason and Jonathan Sherman examine a number of sports-related trademark issues. In part 1 of this Trademarks in Sports trilogy, Len and Jonathan discuss trademark issues around individual athlete names, catch phrases, nicknames, mascots and controversial team names.

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Leonard Glickman

Leonard Glickman

Leonard Glickman is a partner in the firm’s Business Law Group where he provides transactional and intellectual property advice to clients in the entertainment, sports, fashion, food and retail industries.

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Jonathan Sherman

Jonathan Sherman

Jonathan Sherman is a member of the 2013 summer student class at Cassels Brock.

Jonathan is a J.D. Candidate for 2014 at Osgoode Hall Law School. He graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Major in Accounting. Jonathan graduated on the Dean's Honour List at McGill and was the recipient of the Herbert E. Siblin Award for Excellence in Auditing and the PSB Boisjoli Scholarship for High Academic Standing.

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Comments (1)

  • Charlie Delaney

    • 05 September 2013 at 16:06
    • #

    Great article, but I'm sure that fans of Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will not be too happy to have their Clubs referred to as 'franchises'. Despite what the Glazers, and other foreign owners, may have planned, European football clubs don't have the same transient nature as US sports teams.

    Often the lucrative nature of turning a player into a 'brand' is the sponsor's idea and forms part of a wider plan to develop the star: adidas want to sell a Messi range of apparel/gear and Nike want a Lebron range which rivals the value of the hugely successful, cult 'Jordan' brand.

    Sometimes the player just wants to get on with the game (Messi) and in some cases, developing their own brand is as important as on-field/court success (Lebron).

    Trade marks are crucial to this exercise. Mr. Beckham (and his advisors!) would testify to the commercial success of the player-brand as would countless other sports stars who have cashed in through the use of eponymous marks and images.


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