Yesterday, I wrote about the history of the NCAA’s assembling of the rights to an array of trademarks associated with this month’s basketball tournament. Today, I will provide some examples of the activities that can bring unwanted NCAA attention to your advertisements or broadcasting of advertising, as well as one more issue that should be
selection sunday trademark
March Madness and Advertising: Use of NCAA Trademarks (2023 Update – Part 1)
With Selection Sunday this weekend, the 2023 NCAA Collegiate Basketball Tournament is about to begin. As faithful readers of this blog know, broadcasters, publishers and other businesses need to be wary about potential claims arising from their use of terms and logos associated with the tournament.
The NCAA owns the well-known marks March Madness®, The Big Dance®, Final Four®, Women’s Final Four®, Elite Eight,® and The Road to the Final Four® (with and without the word “The”), each of which is a federally registered trademark. The NCAA does not own “Sweet Sixteen” – someone else does – but it does have federal registrations for NCAA Sweet Sixteen® and NCAA Sweet 16®.
The NCAA also has federal registrations for some lesser-known marks, including March Mayhem®, March Is On®,Midnight Madness®, Selection Sunday®, 68 Teams, One Dream®, And Then There Were Four® and NCAA Fast Break®. (It also has a registration for SPRING MADNESS®in connectionwith its soccer tournaments.)
Some of these marks are used to promote the basketball tournament or the coverage of the tournament, while others are used on merchandise, such as t-shirts. The NCAA also uses (or licenses) variations on these marks without seeking registration, but it can claim common law rights in those marks, such as March Madness Live, March Madness Music Festival and Final Four Fan Fest.…
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