July 26, 2019
Another chapter was added to the Boston–New York sports rivalry when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady filed two trademark applications for the nickname “Tom Terrific”. Although the moniker has been used to describe Brady at times throughout his illustrious career, it is more often associated with Hall of Fame New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver.
The trademarks, which cover trading cards, posters, photographs and t-shirts, were made on a 1B or “intent to use” basis, signifying that that the six-time Super Bowl champion intends to release a line of products that incorporate the nickname.
The move has left many sports fans up in arms, especially in the New York area. The news was particularly jarring for some given the status of Seaver’s health - Seaver’s family announced in March that the 74-year old is suffering from dementia.
According to The Washington Post, Brady’s own public comments, which he made in an attempt to diffuse the backlash he was receiving, may have jeopardized his chances of ever getting the right to use “Tom Terrific” for commercial purposes. Brady apparently told reporters that he actually “didn’t like the nickname” and only filed with the USPTO “to make sure no one used it”.
Every trademark application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) must be based on either actual use of the mark prior to filing or a “bona fide” intention to use the mark after filing. Brady apparently told reporters that he actually “didn’t like the nickname” and only filed with the USPTO “to make sure no one used it”.
Authors: Larissa Fulop and Aaron Barrett