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RG3 in trademark dispute with, well, RG3

Griffin Getty Images

The hottest brand in the NFL has a bit of a problem.  Robert Griffin III (better known as RG3 or RGIII) was preceded by Research Group 3 (also known as RG3), a company that makes motorcycle suspension parts.

According to the Washington Post, Griffin and the company are trying to negotiate a “coexistence agreement,” which would allow both to use RG3.

Likelihood of consumer confusion becomes the legal standard in cases like this, and we can’t imagine anyone mixing up the two brands.  Unless Griffin starts endorsing motorcycle suspension parts or RG3 comes out with a football-themed product line.

Regardless of how it works out, the situation provides even more proof that Griffin has quickly become a major phenomenon, both in NFL circles and beyond.

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67 Responses to “RG3 in trademark dispute with, well, RG3”
  1. pats54 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:31 AM

    I should trademark RG III.

  2. racman766 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:31 AM

    Don’t worry in three years RG3 will be working for Research Group 3.

  3. billsfan1 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:34 AM

    NObody would confuse the old WWF wrestling with world wildlife foundation but courts forced the wrestling WWF to change their name…
    That being said, its cool that they are trying to coexist with it first..

  4. monsterscream says: Apr 20, 2013 9:35 AM

    The fact that there are no comments on this article speaks volumes. It seems that people want to ‘hate’ on the young man, but simply cannot. That’s awesome.

  5. tjacks7 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:37 AM

    He should trademark RG1Knee before someone else beats him to that punch too.

  6. irishgary says: Apr 20, 2013 9:39 AM

    This guy is gonna flop this year, he’s not keeping the focus on football

  7. footballchic777 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:40 AM

    I am SO tired of all the trademarking…….Tebowing, Kaepernicking……. Please, let it go!

  8. boogymanoflamancha says: Apr 20, 2013 9:42 AM

    Research Group 3 (also known as RG3), started in 1998. Griffin was in elementary school at that time…The parts company was 1st to use RG3 publicly…where is the dispute?

  9. ozymandias121 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:43 AM

    Stay more worried about your name than your play RGKnee.

  10. mullman76 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:44 AM

    @monsterscream: Why are you RG3 fans so defensive about the kid? He looked OK before his knee was put on sideways.

    Too bad for the kid. I hope he comes back strong, but shredding your knee like that can cause one to miss a step.

    We shall see.

  11. helloanybodyhome says: Apr 20, 2013 9:46 AM

    Why not just buy the company, or pay them to use their name?
    Seems fair, as they were using it first.

  12. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:49 AM

    im going to trademark ‘IRG3′

  13. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:51 AM

    that company doesnt have anything to worry about, IRG3 will be a sandwhich artist is a few years, it might be after this year when he gets his phuney strawny neck broke or tear that knee up again

  14. dylanssongwriter says: Apr 20, 2013 9:51 AM

    “I felt a thrill go up my leg when I saw RG3″ ~ old white sports media

  15. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:51 AM

    like i said from day1, IRG3 is a diva

  16. cheddarrob says: Apr 20, 2013 9:56 AM

    The dispute is RGIII brought more money into the NFL then anyone else last season. Taking away that trademark could hurt the NFLs pockets as well. Don’t think they aren’t considered in this. #1 selling jersey for one season all time….

  17. blackandbluedivision says: Apr 20, 2013 9:57 AM

    waiting for Logicvoicesays’ opinion.

  18. kwickett85 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:57 AM

    Why would a company that makes motorcycle parts name themselves Research Group 3? Boring…

  19. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 9:57 AM

    IRG3 also wants to trademark his hoveround wheelchair, the one he would be using every offseason while hes rahabbing some major injury from the season before

  20. moosev says: Apr 20, 2013 9:57 AM

    There’s money involved for both if they play this right. They’ll figure it out.

    Funny that Lucky Charms and Andrew Luck haven’t partnered up yet.

    BTW, I love Lucky Charms! Though I find the little green leprichan a bit creepy.

  21. DonRSD says: Apr 20, 2013 10:00 AM

    ACL3
    This kids knees are toast.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  22. bluepower77 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:05 AM

    ohh boy, get ready to read the word “haters” bout a thousand times!!!!!

  23. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:08 AM

    im glad my team QB isnt focused on this type of stuff, hes focused on being the best young QB in the game, Luck will always be superior to IRG3, jersey sales and commercials dont make u great, its hard work and film study and making yr entire team better

  24. buccaboo says: Apr 20, 2013 10:17 AM

    RG3, the player, should do an endorsement deal for RG3, the parts company. For free

  25. stunzeed5 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:19 AM

    Military brat from two retired SNCOs, respectful, articulate, college graduate, involved in politics, and successful….everything you’d want your son to be. Yet people in here are hoping he shreds his knee again and ends his career. Sad commentary and pathetic. The world (and black community in general) need more RG3s and less Russells/Vicks/Youngs…..

  26. ripster65 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:21 AM

    Oops! “Kaepernicking” is already taken.

  27. forty9asty says: Apr 20, 2013 10:28 AM

    blackandbluedivision says:
    Apr 20, 2013 9:57 AM
    waiting for Logicvoicesays’ opinion.
    ========================================================

    My thoughts exactly. How is it he is first to post on any topic NOT Redskin/RG3 related with his delusions about the player and team, yet is mysteriously absent when the topic actually IS about his man-crush?

  28. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:30 AM

    Military brat from two retired SNCOs, respectful, articulate, college graduate, involved in politics, and successful….everything you’d want your son to be. Yet people in here are hoping he shreds his knee again and ends his career. Sad commentary and pathetic. The world (and black community in general) need more RG3s and less Russells/Vicks/Youngs…..

    that makes no sense!!! u mean the world need more Toms, is what u really mean!!!

  29. baxman89 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:30 AM

    Why doesn’t Robert Griffin III just promote the company or sign on as a spokesman? Everybody is happy. I’m out.

  30. nfloracle says: Apr 20, 2013 10:48 AM

    “Regardless of how it works out,” the lawyers for both sides will be the mains ones to capitalize and benefit from this dispute.

  31. nxtinline says: Apr 20, 2013 10:51 AM

    don’t know how or why either would, but why not have both companies endorse each other, rg3 suspension come out with something for football, and rg3 the player attach his name to a part.

    on a second note, I like rg3 as a player, and person honestly, I just don’t like ALL the hype this guy gets, he definitely deserving of some, just not all these die hards like they are without seeing a full body of work

  32. eatitfanboy says: Apr 20, 2013 10:54 AM

    Sounds like the motorcycle company had it first. In most cases that’s the end of the story.

    So if they are willing to work out a coexistence agreement, they are the ones who should be applauded. Griffin wouldn’t have a leg to stand on (no pun intended) if this ever went to court.

  33. nfceastfan says: Apr 20, 2013 11:10 AM

    Military brat from two retired SNCOs, respectful, articulate, college graduate, involved in politics, and successful….everything you’d want your son to be. Yet people in here are hoping he shreds his knee again and ends his career. Sad commentary and pathetic. The world (and black community in general) need more RG3s and less Russells/Vicks/Youngs…..

    Apparently not everyone. If Obama had a son he would want him to be just like Trayvon Martin.

  34. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 20, 2013 11:20 AM

    irishgary says: Apr 20, 2013 9:39 AM

    This guy is gonna flop this year, he’s not keeping the focus on football
    _____________
    You really think Griffin is physically involved in this dispute? No matter how much you want to hate players for trademarking their brand, I doubt any player has even been the first to bring up the idea. Athletes can play football, athletes can star in commercials, athletes aren’t worried about their percentage of merchandising revenues: agents are. Attacking a player for “trademarking” his brand is as absurd as attacking a player for answering a question for at a press conference or attacking a player for accepting an endorsement deal.

  35. coachmfarrell says: Apr 20, 2013 11:21 AM

    @mullman76

    Why are you and everyone else so critical of the kid???

    I don’t understand the pure hate that I see on these boards everytime PTF says ANYTHING about him. Look at the facts:
    1. He was hurt from a freak accident.
    2. He still broke the record for Rushing Yards by a QB
    3. He also threw 20+ TDs AND less than 10 picks. (that’s good for any QB and he was a Rookie)
    4. The kid is a nice guy and natural born leader. I’ve been to several practices last year and he’s constantly in everyone’s ear.
    5. “Gimmick Offense” is BS. Shanny came up with the best way to max his production and it worked. They’ll expand on it more this seaon.

    Noone was on these boards a few years ago when Brady blew his knee out off some BS and said he was “soft, fragile, etc”. And noone was saying the same stuff about AP and he should have won the MVP last year coming off a similar injury.

    Continue to talk all the trash you all want, but I’m sure it’s due to envy and jealousy that your QB isn’t going to change the game forever.

  36. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 11:25 AM

    didnt we get all this hype before from a certain player from virginia tech some years ago, remember the commercial the micheal vick expierience? and all they hype vick had and the 100 million dollar deals, isnt IRG3 just a copycat? the nfl was hyping vick up like he was the ressurection of jesus, but how that turn out? redskins fans,prepare to be let down

  37. mullman76 says: Apr 20, 2013 11:28 AM

    I don’t care if he is articulate or educated or a military brat. The hype is over the top and the redskin fans are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

    The kid shredded his knee, twice. Shake yourself RG3 lovers, the kid has a long road ahead and hopefully he is the same player.

    Remember- Adrian Peterson is the exception, not the rule.

    Go Raiders

  38. kegowhisky says: Apr 20, 2013 11:34 AM

    Somewhere, Rex Grossman III is planning on suing both entities….

  39. geniusesq says: Apr 20, 2013 11:36 AM

    Just endorse them. Do a commerical. Problem solved.

  40. reaganyears says: Apr 20, 2013 11:36 AM

    Dummies – The motorcycle company RG3 is thrilled about this situation & not trying to prevent player Robert Griffin from using RG3.

    The free publicity generated by having the same moniker as the most popular player in the NFL is priceless – how many more people now know this company exists and what they do?

    They probably just want protection in case (God forbid) player RG3 becomes the next O.J., Mike Vick, Roethlisberger, Jerry Sandusky, etc.

  41. mythaimyke says: Apr 20, 2013 11:41 AM

    Who cares in a couple of years nobody will even know who Robert is! Just a flash in the pan! He’s no NFL QB!!!!!! Go back to college where you can play those games. Not with the big boys!

  42. anthonyverna says: Apr 20, 2013 11:43 AM

    Since I actually do focus on trademark law in my practice, I guess I’ll just say this: Trademarks are divided by industry. I’m sure you remember Mercury cars and there are Mercury boats, too. (It’s not always about who is there first.)

    In today’s world, though, anyone who creates and registers a mark first uses (or should use) software to detect who is filing something similar (if not the same).

    Sometimes, those trademark owners go a little far (and I would argue that here since nobody will confuse a motorcycle company and a football player). But, to save everyone some trouble, you work it out. They’re working it out. I have written co-existence agreements many times (one just the other week).

    It saves a lot of aggravation if both parties see the light.

    But, really, RG3’s trademark is weak. It’s for t-shirts and things? I’d argue that’s not even a trademark, just a design on the front of a shirt.

  43. cwwgk says: Apr 20, 2013 12:15 PM

    @peytonsneck18: your obsession with Robert Griffin III is impressive. Reminds me of a different type of bashing that goes on when someone is in denial about a certain aspect of their identity.

  44. bhindenemylines says: Apr 20, 2013 12:43 PM

    A lot of people are asking why so many people seem to hate RG3. After thinking about it, the hate is not directed towards him, but more towards the Redskins fans who have come out of the woodwork after years of their teams. Fans of the 31 other teams are sick of hearing about him. I get that skins fans are excited that they finally have a franchise QB, but the dude has played 1 season. Give it some time before every male child born in DC is named Robert Griffin Last-name-here. It’s not a racial thing, it’s not even a Cowboys/Giants/Eagles thing. It’s more of a “these skins fans are so frigging annoying. Maybe if they lose The Chosen One then all of these annoying fans will crawl back into their holes.” And that’s not my thoughts, just what feels like the collective conscious is out there in cyberspace.

    I know not all Skins fans are like that, but most of the ones who post seem to be. Read any other post about an NFC east team and some illogic clown will post something about RG3 or The Skins.

    So those that most of the hate is directed at are the reason for the hate. Just what I have observed. Bring on the Thumbs Down. :)

  45. bhindenemylines says: Apr 20, 2013 12:45 PM

    Should read “after years of their teams’ less than stellar results.”

  46. olinered77 says: Apr 20, 2013 12:52 PM

    I feel for RG3. He’s and exciting athlete and he seems like a respectable individual. He just has no chance if surviving long in the league at this pace. The fact is he’s a small and thin athlete who frustrates bigger slower defensive players. So when they get a chance they will try in bang him up. I honestly hope his knee isn’t the same. It’d force Shanahan (most overrated coach in football) to leave RG3 in the pocket where he can use his arm talent to win games.

  47. nananatman says: Apr 20, 2013 12:58 PM

    No really, happens all the time with names and rights. Odds are good the motorcycle company has the rights for RG3 and therefor are the legal entity, now I know you guys aren’t that good with following laws and honesty but RG3 should probably put his head between their legs and kiss their a$$ if he wants to use their trademark.

  48. daysend564 says: Apr 20, 2013 1:09 PM

    Rex Grossman 3

  49. outlawjerseywhales says: Apr 20, 2013 1:18 PM

    peytonsneck18 says:Apr 20, 2013 10:30 AM

    “…The world (and black community in general) need more RG3s and less Russells/Vicks/Youngs…..”

    that makes no sense!!! u mean the world need more Toms, is what u really mean!!!
    ———————————————————————
    It must be difficult typing puerile, repetitious, misspelled drivel draped in a white sheet with a matching pillowcase pulled over your head!

  50. christopher525 says: Apr 20, 2013 1:20 PM

    @peytonsneck18, for someone who hates Griffin so much you sure seem to have his Johnson buried pretty deep. Get off the man’s jock already, he has a woman.

  51. musicman495 says: Apr 20, 2013 1:22 PM

    peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 10:08 AM

    im glad my team QB isnt focused on this type of stuff, hes focused on being the best young QB in the game, Luck will always be superior to IRG3, jersey sales and commercials dont make u great, its hard work and film study and making yr entire team better
    ———————
    Hey, if I were a fan of the Displaced Baltimore Colts, and lived where you live, I would spend every waking minute following the Redskins and their QB too.

  52. mackcarrington says: Apr 20, 2013 1:39 PM

    There really shouldn’t be any problem since they aren’t even remotely in the same industry. And as long as the physical trademarks don’t look similar.

  53. eatitfanboy says: Apr 20, 2013 1:50 PM

    mackcarrington says:
    Apr 20, 2013 1:39 PM
    There really shouldn’t be any problem since they aren’t even remotely in the same industry. And as long as the physical trademarks don’t look similar.
    ———

    So were the World Wildlife Federation and the World Wrestling Federation in the same industry?

  54. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 1:51 PM

    @peytonsneck18, for someone who hates Griffin so much you sure seem to have his Johnson buried pretty deep. Get off the man’s jock already, he has a woman

    im not a cave woman

  55. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 20, 2013 1:57 PM

    Hey, if I were a fan of the Displaced Baltimore Colts, and lived where you live, I would spend every waking minute following the Redskins and their QB too

    u do know Indianapolis is alot cleaner and nicer than DC and alot less crime and violence, and the colts are and have been a better team than the Redskins, u guys are so annoying that every other team dislikes u guys just because of that, u should eat a slice of humble pie, it does a body and franchise good

  56. officialgame says: Apr 20, 2013 2:03 PM

    Just change your name to RGKnee

  57. mackcarrington says: Apr 20, 2013 2:19 PM

    There really shouldn’t be any problem since they aren’t even remotely in the same industry. And as long as the physical trademarks don’t look similar.
    ———

    So were the World Wildlife Federation and the World Wrestling Federation in the same industry?
    ===============================
    Obviously not, but also obviously, there was no attempt to work out a deal. I don’t know the details, but it seems to me that there was a stubborness on the part of the Wildlife people. I do know that in general, if the businesses are not related, both can share the trademark. Do you confuse pro wrestling with watching baby eagles hatch?

  58. jessethegreat says: Apr 20, 2013 2:24 PM

    If the motorcycle company owned the rights first, it is THEIR BRAND. Just like when the world wrestling federation had to change their name even after people long recognized it as their brand.

    If this is the case, I hope the motorcycle company sues the pants off Bob Griffin. They owned the rights and he profited of his negligence. It’s inexcusable.

  59. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 20, 2013 3:26 PM

    anthonyverna says: Apr 20, 2013 11:43 AM
    But, really, RG3′s trademark is weak. It’s for t-shirts and things? I’d argue that’s not even a trademark, just a design on the front of a shirt.
    _________
    Granted I just got into law school, and have never looked at patent law, but isn’t it important for Griffin and his agents to protect the brand even just for T-shirts and whatnot? And the point of a coesxistence agreement would be that both the Third and the motorcycle company could hypothetically produce T-shirts reading RG3, but that no one else could?

    My sense was that they’re trying to make sure Joe Schmoe doesn’t start printing T-shirts and bumper stickers with Griff’s moniker on it, without Griffin consenting and/or receiving royalties. Again, not a disagreement, just a question.

  60. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 20, 2013 3:34 PM

    jessethegreat says: Apr 20, 2013 2:24 PM

    If the motorcycle company owned the rights first, it is THEIR BRAND. Just like when the world wrestling federation had to change their name even after people long recognized it as their brand.

    If this is the case, I hope the motorcycle company sues the pants off Bob Griffin. They owned the rights and he profited of his negligence. It’s inexcusable.
    ______
    Are you joking? RG3 is a nickname, a personal moniker, it has no legal attachment to Griffin, nor was it coined or promoted by him. Back in high school I had a friend named Mike Budde, and we used to call him Budweiser, should Anheuser Busch sue him?

    Not to get personal, but there was a 1998 TV show called “Jesse”, do you have the right to sue NBC? JESSE Luggage systems, designs storage accessories, ironically enough, for motorcycles; can they sue you?

  61. boyshole25 says: Apr 20, 2013 3:38 PM

    Ey Peyton’s neck. Who won the heisman lucks senior year? And who won off Roy last year stop sayin luck is the greatest he’s not even the second best in that class it’s between Wilson and rg3

  62. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 20, 2013 3:54 PM

    bhindenemylines says: Apr 20, 2013 12:43 PM
    I know not all Skins fans are like that, but most of the ones who post seem to be. Read any other post about an NFC east team and some illogic clown will post something about RG3 or The Skins.

    So those that most of the hate is directed at are the reason for the hate. Just what I have observed. Bring on the Thumbs Down.
    ________
    For the record, I did give you a thumbs down, but it’s a very well-put and reasonable point. My perception is that most Redskin fans are pretty reasonable/conservative on the Griffin front. It’s really just that one moron masquerading as a Redskins fan has been doing a really stellar job at making sure everyone hates Robert Griffin, the Redskins, and their fan base since June of last year. (and it’s not just the NF East, it’s whole NFL, everybody hates Washington because of him: or Washington’s team at least; the government already saw to the rest)

    To the extent there are more unreasonable DC fans, it’s in many ways triggered by Peyton up there, who has been attacking Griffin with vicious racial comments and descriptions of vulgar abuse of Griffin’s mother since the day Washington traded up the No. 2 pick.

    I think that a team that is polarizing on several different levels leads to extremist partisanship among those discussing the team on both sides, leading to unreasonable statements, poorly formed arguments, and obnoxious braggadocio.

    That said, forming an opinion of a team, player or fan base based on comments largely made or incited by internet trolls is kind of a silly thing to do.

  63. anthonyverna says: Apr 20, 2013 4:00 PM

    @thirdistheworrd:

    The issue I’m talking about is if a trademark is merely ornamental.

    Then there is no trademark protection.

  64. anthonyverna says: Apr 20, 2013 4:02 PM

    Also, there are state rights of privacy and publicity that protect one’s image and the ability to have that image used in commerce (John Q. Public cannot do that).

  65. sagatti says: Apr 20, 2013 6:39 PM

    How do you take ANYONE seriously who puts “go raiders” at the end of their post?

  66. stull60060 says: Apr 20, 2013 6:46 PM

    This guy hasn’t done squat in the NFL. He has a long way to go to be considered a star player. Only time will tell. I’ll wait and see. Right now he is nothing more than a media creation.

  67. skinsfan91 says: Apr 20, 2013 7:59 PM

    The guy has done squat in the NFL? Rookie of the year, multiple rookie all time records set, taking a 6-10 to 10-6, winning a division title. Yeah, most rookie qb’s do that. Idiot. Skins fans, stop responding to trolls, most of them are just here because of Logical, a response is what these zilches want. Don’t give them the satisfaction. HTTR. What them win then cry on the internet.

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