Offensive Holding: Seahawks Move To Trademark The Word “Boom” and the Number 12

170px-Referees135px-Seattle_Seahawks_helmet_2012If the Seattle Seahawks are known for their aggressive offensive line, their players are nothing when compared to the aggression of their lawyers. Outdoing even the brutish NFL lawyers who claim copyright to terms like “Super Bowl,” the team has filed two dozen trademark applications in a little over a year to claim ownership to such terms as “boom” and “Go Hawks.” The team is also claiming ownership to the number 12 in a font like the one used by the team. It had to settle a prior lawsuit over its use of “The 12th Man” phrase (referring to the fans) — a phrase claimed by Texas A & M where it was forced to pay a licensing fee for the limited use of this common term. Now it is trying to the do the same in claiming parts of the English language as owned by the team (I am waiting for the Patriots to trademark “Deflate-gate”). It is all perfectly bizarre but Congress has done little to stop the frenzy to claim common terms and phrases. Too bad there is not anyone willing to throw a flag for encroachment to protect citizens.

I have long been a critic of growing copyright and trademark claims over things occurring in public or common phrases or terms. (For a prior column, click here). We have often discussed the abusive expansion of copyright and trademark laws. This includes common phrases, symbols, and images being claimed as private property. (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). This included recently a New York artist claiming that he holds the trademark to symbol π.

The team has been fighting people who use the number 12. In the meantime, they crushed one of its own former players — kicker Norm Johnson and his son, Jordan Johnson — after they tried to trademark “12 Nation.”

There should be no claim to these terms and phrases, but Congress has done little as companies carve up the English language like some linguistic land rush. Ironically, the team’s greatest opposition is not coming from Congress — or logic — but other teams. While the Seahawks want to own “Go Hawks, the Chicago Blackhawks are not amused.

If you really want to see a scrum of offensive players, just try using “The 12 Man’s Super Bowl Boom Boom.” You will be virtually crushed by a sea of pin-stripped suits and wingtips.

Source: USA Today

23 thoughts on “Offensive Holding: Seahawks Move To Trademark The Word “Boom” and the Number 12”

  1. Olly

    Democrats don’t seem to be as enthused about litigation. The Republicans absolutely love it. Isn’t Boner thinking up another suit?

    Democrats are funny. They tend to rely on elections rather than lawsuits.

    1. Wadewilliams – you mean all those same sex marriage lawsuits were filed by Republicans?

  2. Wadewilliams,
    I sincerely doubt you will have the same concern when a Republican is occupying the White House. 😀

  3. The Republicans have filed about a thousand lawsuits against Obama or the DOJ in the past two months. Obviously, they, too, fully support the litigation industry. But it is damn thoughtful of them to keep all those ‘owned’ Democratic litigation attorneys employed.

  4. Olly and Paul, At the core of the problem is many people who write the laws are attorneys. Another core problem, is the Dem party is owned lock, stock and barrel by trial attorneys. But, the Republican party is, on a much more subtle and hypocritical level, also friends to excessive litigation. The plaintiff’s attorneys are the sales force in this litigation industry. They work on commission[contingency fees]. The attorneys who defend insurance companies are beholden to the Dems as well. They bill by the hour.There are many Rep. pols who are attorneys. And, when it comes to choosing between their constituents who want this industry regulated, and their brother attorneys, well on the sly, they help w/ keeping this litigation industry as deregulated an industry as there is in this country. Funny, the party that LOVES to regulate industries do no regulation on their 2 biggest ones, litigation and education.

    1. Nick – you would think with so many lawyers involved they would write better legislation.

  5. ESPN, not the Patriots, would be the ones to trademark “deflate gate” as they are the ones who made up the story. I suspect once the NFL releases its actual findings ESPN won’t want its name associated with the term either.

  6. Nick,
    George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote:

    “Those who can do, and those who can’t teach” but regarding lawyers, it should read:

    “Those who can do, and those who can’t, get elected”

    1. Olly – I always thought the quote should be “Those that can could not possibly teach.”

  7. I will repeat me quick solution. Close the law schools for 5 years. Then evaluate their behavior. If they keep up this insanity, if they keep filing frivolous lawsuits, then keep the schools closed. We need to pit the greedy, ambulance chasing, lowlifes against the good, honest, righteous ones. And, we simply need to thin the herd. Good attorneys need to step up their game and put a halt to predatory practices. They need to loudly and often point out the bad behavior of the jihadists..wait a minute. I was conflating the need for good Muslims to weed out their predators as well. JT does more than his part.

    1. Nick – we already know the legal job market is flooded because law schools cannot find applicants and are stealing students from other schools. I think the market is self-correcting.

  8. Ah com’on folks. A little charity here. We’re having our moment in the sun, and this is Seattle after all ….need the sun. When it’s out and the Mountain is in its glory we want to bottle it (the experience) for all the dreary days and mist. The “12” is uniquely done and all over the place. How can a horseshoe be branded or the number 49 or even every symbol for the U.S. Marines except the Iwo Jima memorial….which almost was. Mustang, Volt, Leaf, ok,ok,ok….I’ll stop.

    Besides I’m more concerned about you all in New York and surrounds and the snow then the melt.

    1. Canon for Veterans Ministry – maybe the Valley of the Sun should trademark “sunshine’ and “sunny” and Seattle will have to do without.

  9. There is an element of the law, one that is primarily wielded by money and/or lawyers that should be overseen by the courts and dealt with as with other crimes such as extortion, fraud, theft, etc. As someone who has been the victim of a nuisance suit and made the decision to pay a settlement rather than pay many times more to prove there was nothing worthy of a settlement, I have experienced first hand the bullying and inequality of the legal eagles.

    A lawyer can cause no end of damage to the average citizen for nothing more than filing fees. The average citizen can do nothing but pay up. Typically because it is a civil suit, you can win but not recoup your time and costs. Or to do so invites more costs.

    So, here we have money and lawyers taking ownership of our language. Will a restaurant advertising a ‘Super Salad Bowl’ end up as a victim to this nonsense? Will a bowling alley step over the line and be victimized by lawyers?

    We have our laws which are man made, not handed down from on high or originating through the supermen of centuries ago. However, we must hold our laws sacred if we are to function as a society. Therefore there should be some recourse when the legal system is perverted in the ways perpetrated by money and vacuous tools posing as lawyers.

    The words, “First we kill all the lawyers.” has, perhaps, more foundation today than when Shakespeare penned it.

  10. Ahhh! The Koch brothers! The libs really need to find a new buggy man. This one has become such a bore. there is also very little less hypocritical when libs talk about money and elections.

  11. The law of trade mark has been so perverted in the name of greed that it it hardly surprising. Why on earth is the NFL still a nonprofit?

    The power of money has made both the law and our courts the playground of the rich and powerful. While they write the laws to immunize themselves from liability both civil and criminal, they use the courts as money makers and tools to shut down creativity and free speach of the the lesser of the species–humans. Now that the Kochs have announced that they will spend $900 million in the next election, humans and their rights will be further restricted and their environment and working life further degraded.

  12. Lawyers make this game so confusing. Instead of litigating the game, just get the guy with the ball. Concussion and injury lawsuits can be worked out later.

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