NFL Crushes Indiana Man Who Claimed Ownership Of “Harbowl”

FirstfootballgameWe have previously discussed how Congress and the White House have yielded to demand for increasing copyright and trademark restrictions, including criminal prosecutions of ordinary citizens. One of my longest complaints is how people and businesses now claim ownership of common symbols and phrases. (here and here). This week we have two parties in a fight to claim trademark over a common expression. Roy Fox of Pendleton, Indiana secured a copyright to the term “Harbowl” last year to make money off of a Superbowl with the Baltimore Ravens under coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh. He was then muscled out of his trademark by NFL lawyers claiming to own the term “Superbowl.”

We have previously discussed the ludicrous ability of the NFL to claim ownership of the term “Superbowl” but an army of NFL lawyers continue to threaten and sue people over the term. This is a case which shows how ridiculous the situation has become in the United States. The NFL was able to claim that even the use of the word “Bowl” was an infringement by a man who himself was claiming ownership of what is a common quip.

Fox caved after the NFL threatened to take him to court. There is no good party in this fight. The question is how long it will take to take the American people to demand action and bar such claims. The Obama Administration has long been criticized for being in the pocket of “copyright hawks” and Congress has shown a consistent willingness to give lobbyists anything that they want in this area. The result is that we are stifling creativity and criminalizing everyday day.

I am waiting for the Catholic Church to claim ownership of terms like the “Hail Mary pass.”

Source: ESPN

17 thoughts on “NFL Crushes Indiana Man Who Claimed Ownership Of “Harbowl””

  1. I agree with James in LA. What we are witnessing is the violent thrashing that is usually called “death throes”.

  2. Correction: the word at issue is “Harbowl” not “bowl,” but the answer is the same: no copyright can accrue. On the otherhand, a trademark could (think “Xerox” or other made up word).

  3. I don’t believe that anyone has secured a copyright to the word “bowl.” Simply put, a single word could not fall within the scope of the copyright laws as these protect “expression” (as opposed to ideas, short phrases, or instructions.)

  4. Sad result, but not surprising anymore. Mike S. said it correctly. The copyright and patent systems are owned by the wealthy and corporations.

  5. This case illustrates the way in which copy right and trade mark law has been perverted by large corporations. This is also true about patent law.

  6. Copyrights, patents and trademarks are all going to fall in the in the 21st century.

  7. Copyright laws are really the domain of the wealthy and do stifle creativity. Most real artists will admit borrowing from others, be it painting, music or film. The recent criminalization of copyright is a radical new step and amounts to an institutionalizton of privilege and its drive to leash creativity in the service of greed and power.

  8. I suggest tee shirts that say “Superbowl Is Public Domain– Dont Tread On Me”. Come on kids, get off your arses and your noses out of the facebook and go protest.

  9. The Indiana lawn cutter changed his name to “Hussein al Qater” after his brother whose real name is Al Cutter. Then a catering business got in on it and God only knows where its going. Pretty soon the word “Lard” will be claimed by the Catolic Church and then Krisco will be in trouble for infringement, even if you praise Krisco on Monday not Sunday. Then Christian Mingle will get sued by the Seventh Day Adventists. Scientology will get sued by the Christian Science Monitor. It is all in the name. I hope nobody claims the rights to Barkin. I dropped the g on the end. HumpinDog says he is worried too that Humphrey Bogarts heirs will sue him. itchinBayDog says her name is safe because WordPress wont even print the real version. Same with astardBayDog.

  10. The Catolic Church would never claim that right. “Hail Mary, Full of Grace…” is antithetical to football. Now if someone claims “Divine Right of Kings” then they are in trouble with Anheuser Busch or whatever that brewery’s real name is now. “Inbibe” is it? Someone from Santa Luigi please chimne in on that one.

    But JT is right. The Obama Adminstration is just bought and sold by the corporate interests on the issue of patent infringement. Just the other day they sued some schmuck in Indiana for employing the name ObamaCare in his lawn service business.

  11. I seem to recall an emperor…. Named Nero…. That burnt the town to zero…. By all accounts he was noones hero….they claimed he painted the town red…. It does not matter now he’s dead…. He lived with his mother in his….bed…. And…..

  12. I am waiting for the Catholic Church to claim ownership of terms like the “Hail Mary pass.”

    That would be a great debate.

  13. Everyone knows that cats originated the concept of hairball, of which harbowl is a corruption that originated in Texas.

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