Super Bowl host committee informs towns of NFL trademark rules

The New York / New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee has contacted every municipality in the state of New Jersey via letter outlining the steps necessary to hold Super Bowl XLVIII-related events without violating any NFL trademark rules, the Bergen (N.J.) Record reported Friday.

According to the Record, the committee, while welcoming towns and cities to have events tied to the first-ever Super Bowl held in New Jersey, informed the municipalities that using the NFL shield and other league logos is not permitted, though they can use the term “Super Celebration Fair” to refer to a Super Bowl-related event. Moreover, using the term “Super Bowl” without league permission is prohibited, too, as the Record noted.

Super Bowl 48 will be held on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium.

The committee also said it would assist municipalities on Super Bowl-related ideas and will allow them to use the committee’s branding upon request, too, the Record reported.

“We wanted to be proactive and give guidance, because we didn’t want any money — public or private — wasted on developing materials or signage that runs afoul of NFL sponsorships or trademarks, “ Al Kelly, the host committee’s chief executive, told the paper. “We don’t want them to have to just burn what they did.”

If you have ever heard an advertisement refer to the NFL or the Super Bowl in strictly general terms — and aren’t those the most comical things? — well, this story is just a reminder that the NFL doesn’t joke around about its trademarks.

25 responses to “Super Bowl host committee informs towns of NFL trademark rules

  1. Most of the radio ads I’ve heard refer to the Super Bowl as “The Big Game”, and it is pretty overly vague… “pro football championship” makes some sense and doesn’t step on any TM

  2. Super Bowl 48 will be held on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium.
    Wrong Mike! Super Bowl XLVIII blah blah blah. Gotta use those roman numerals!

  3. Let’s be honest, Washington Redskins only chance of winning, is if they are the only team in the league. (BTW… if they were the only team in the league, I would still take the field to win the SB)

  4. the league’s ultimate demise will be due to the fact that it has been run by lawyers for some long time now rather than football people.

    and to the obviously deluded (logical?) moron above, i’m guessing you also anointed the nationals as world series champs, eh?

    my guess is the skins never do anything as long as they are owned by little danny (my team compensates for my other shortcomings) ego. but keep typing in mamma’s basement; you obviously have nothing to do but post irrelevant comments.

  5. I’m a believer in a good breakfast. Why, just this morning I had a super bowl of cereal.

    *waits for lawyers to arrive*

  6. When using NFL logos in the course of commercial enterprise, I’ve found the unwritten rules of the black market to be much easier to comply with than the NFL trademark rules.

  7. The municipalities should have trademarked the date and location of all the events so the NFL would have to pay a royalty every time it is mentioned on-air or via league correspondence.

    That is about as dumb as the trademark issue the NFL has. These communities are simply advertising the events that were agreed upon by the NFL through the acceptance of the winning bid to host the game.

  8. While the NFL is protective of their trademarks, they reportedly encourage advertisers to make fun of the fact that they can’t say the trademarked names/phrases.

    One snack company (name escapes me at the moment) had a contest of tickets and travel to the game some years back, and in the radio commercial, the voiceover said “We can’t use the name, but if you win this contest, it would be SUPER, like a BOWL of [brand] mixed nuts” – with the announcer heavily emphasizing those two words as he spoke. Clever and perfectly legal.

  9. The NFL is just money hungry. If enough places use the term Super Bowl, or an NFL logo, no one will do anything. Imagine the fan revolt. That’s why I’ll always sneak beer and liquor into games and wear Chinese jerseys that look EXACTLY the same.

  10. Wow, another income stream for the NFL.

    Now the NFL can start a copyright trolling department, just like Getty Images has, to send out “settlement demand” letters to all those little towns and villages in NJ who dare to use the word “SuperBowl” while they’re promoting the big game for the league.

    Like Getty Images, each “demand letter” will threaten a law suit IF the town or village doesn’t within seven days send a check for $8713. Getty, of course, usually tries to extort around $850 for a de minimus thumbnail image used on a mom and pop website, but the NFL won’t want to mess around with settlements that low.

    You gotta love all these lawyers who sit around and dream up this kind of copyright and trademark compliance BS to fleece more and more money for dumber and dumber reasons (but, of course, all legal because they have expensive lobbyists to pay off state and national politicians to pass the laws to further enrich themselves and the greedy companies they represent) .

  11. I don’t like the Super Bowl party name restrictions and will laugh on the day that The Big Game is more popular than Super Bowl for a party name. People are getting used to it after all these years. Coca-Cola had to refer to their Super Bowl commercial as a Big Game commercial even after paying all that money to have one! That is ridiculous!

    Also don’t like Roman numerals themselves and don’t like the word numeral just as much. Neither would be used anymore if it wasn’t for the Big Game. Romans probably don’t even use them anymore though I don’t know for sure. If they do, they should quit because they are letters not numbers. It’s just common sense.

  12. I can’t put into words how annoying it is to constantly hear commercial after commercial say “The Big Game” because they can’t use the term “Super Bowl”. I remember one clever radio station here in Indianapolis for the game here change it to “Soup or Bowl” just to get away with it.

  13. For you guys who think this is something new by the league… the NFL has had a dedicated legal team to find trademark misuse for decades. If your local radio or TV station doesn’t have the appropriate license from the league, they can’t have preview or wrap-up programs that have “NFL” or even team names in the title.

    Those in the metro NYC area who listen to Mike Francesa’s Sunday morning radio show have heard him mention many times over 25 years that WFAN indeed has a license from the league to call that show “The NFL Now” and to use NFL Films music for background.

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