“Johnny Football” Trademarked

Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman


Texas A & M red-shirt freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, receives a snap in the red zone while the best defense in college football crashes in on him from both sides. What happens next? Manziel fumbles the ball in mid-air, grabs it back with his left hand, escapes from an on-rushing linebacker, shifts the ball to the right hand then flicks it 20 yards to a receiver standing alone in the end zone with no defender within ten feet.

Whoa? Did that just happen… against Alabama? Or did we just watch a video game?  No, that DID just happen. But, if it were a video game, the game would be called “Johnny Football” – the nickname Texas Aggie fans gave Johnny Manziel. He didn’t ask for it. It was ordained on him and his parents, with the help of the school, are trademarking the name.

Let’s back up. Manziel or his parents are not permitted to make money on an athletic trademark while Johnny is in college.   What they can do, however, is prevent others from profiting on the nickname Johnny didn’t ask for. They can stop enterprisers from marketing drinking mugs with big ear shaped handles known as “Johnny Football Mugs.” They can even stop silly song writers, like me, from trying to market songs with the title “Johnny Football” in it. I can’t even sell something like the following:

“Johnny Football… is an Aggie
And he’s special, you can see
Deserves a Heisman… in his baggie
For demolishing… the S.E.C.”

Even if I wrote a song about Johnny, as a quarterback, running for more yards than all those highly touted S.E.C. running backs, they’d still stop me. It would be true but it would be trademark infringement if I used the words “Johnny Football.” If I made another true statement about “Johnny Football” passing for more yards than any S.E.C. quarterback has ever done and I casually said “this is against the best defenses ever devised” I’d still be sued. Not matter how complimentary, I can’t profit with a song about “Johnny Football.”  Even if I mentioned Manziel had a better season as a freshman with more yards and total TDs than either Newton or Tebow had during their Heisman years and my song helped him win a Heisman, I still couldn’t sell it. Even if I sang:

“Johnny Football for the Heisman
All the Aggies, they are rootin’
Playing better than Joe Theismann,
Timmy Tebow or Cam Newton”

One more thing:

“So to all you enterprising job creators
Here’s a note from the freedom haters
You might consider this rude and crude
But using “Johnny Football” will get you sued.”

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2 thoughts on ““Johnny Football” Trademarked”

    1. Thanks Thomas,

      All comments and suggestions are appreciated. My interest peaked at the moment an amateur decides to get his nickname trademarked.

      There’s a lot of humor potential there. The surface has just been scratched. (New product idea: Band-aids for surfaces)


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