Friday, March 4, 2016

Big Ten Conference Files Trademark for MARCH IS ON!

The Big Ten Conference appears to be preparing for March Madness with a recent trademark filing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
On February 29th, The Big Ten Conference, Inc. filed a federal trademark application for MARCH IS ON! The conference filed the trademark in two classes:
  • Class 038 for "[t]elevision transmission services for programming and content relating to sports; streaming of audio and video material on the Internet for programming and content relating to sports"; and
  • Class 041 for "[e]ntertainment services, namely, sponsoring and coordinating the presentation of athletic events and contests; Entertainment services, namely, production and distribution of television programs relating to sports and sports entertainment; providing on-line information in the field of sports, television, video and audio entertainment via global communications network"
The application was filed on an intent-to-use basis, meaning the conference is not yet using this mark in commerce (probably because March Madness has not started) but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.

As far as the owner of the actual March Madness trademark, that would be the NCAA. The organization owns 12 live registrations for the term with the USPTO. Those applications protect the use of the phrase "March Madness" on a variety of goods and services, including cups and mugs, carbonated soft drinks and apparel, and [of course] basketball tournaments between college teams.

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