The Definition of “Linsanity”: Basketball Sensation Fights For Ownership Over Common Expression

I have previously discussed my objections to the ludicrous expansion of trademark and copyright laws to cover common expressions and symbols. The latest example is “Linsanity,” which New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has filed to claim and is now in competition with a guy who previously claimed the term as his. “Linsanity” appears to be “the trademarking of a common expression to declare ownership over something that you neither created nor have any legitimate right to own.”

Lin filed his trademark application only to find that, in this contest, Alhambra, Calif., resident Yenchin Chang got there first. It all comes down to court speed in the rush to trademark everything on Earth. Chang insisted that he merely wanted to be “part of the excitement” — presumably by cashing in on the excitement. He was followed in filing by Andrew Slayton, who said he coached Lin in high school and he owns the domain name Five others have also filed.

We have previously seen people file over such things as Occupy Wall Street. What I find interesting about this story is the misplaced anger. The outrage is not who should win this race but the fact that there is a race at all. Once again, Congress has done nothing to pull in the runaway use of trademarks and copyrights, which are now strangling the very creativity that they were meant to protect.

What is left in the absence of congressional intervention is another jump ball over common terms and symbols.

Source: as first seen on ABA Journal.

13 thoughts on “The Definition of “Linsanity”: Basketball Sensation Fights For Ownership Over Common Expression

  1. There is also the loaned idea that if Bach had trademarked a three-tone sequece, then his heirs could be suing half the pop makers of the world.

    Stifling creativity? Soon we can’t speak without being sued.

    Or do medical suits cost us nothing?

  2. Onlooker, yes of course you’re right. Lin still pulls the trigger, so to speak and, as with most ‘agency’ relationships . . . it amounts to the same thing. I’m really not too invested, but if you’re going to play into the media hype, you own the whole package.

  3. The whole trademark issue has gotten out of hand and while someone does have the right to “intellectual property” we have taken it past the extreme. As for Lin himself, nice player so far, but not anywhere near as great as the hype and I’m a Knick fan. We forget, however, that these are all professional athletes and by definition are ultimately in it for the money and why not? To be a professional athlete means you are able to compete on a level above 99.9% of all other humans. No corporate CEO, or even POTUS is in that elite ether. They deserve great compensation for their efforts. That people decry it is really the residual old propaganda begun when organized sports began, to wit there was something noble about amateurs. Amateurs were overwhelmingly defined in the past by their plutocratic status, professionals still bear the residual stigma of not being plutocrats and therefore less deserving of admiration and compensation.

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