In 2023, Woods was still a Nike-endorsed athlete. The end of their 27-year partnership would not be officially confirmed until January 8, 2024.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the timeline of events over the last year and discuss the potential implications they could have on the deal.
TaylorMade Forms a New Corporate Entity
Our story begins on March 6, 2023, when TaylorMade founded an entirely new corporate entity: TaylorMade Lifestyle Ventures LLC.
This is a separate entity from the one that owns all of TaylorMade’s other trademarks (Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.).
The fact that TaylorMade filed for an LLC (vs a corporation) is really interesting. Typically an LLC is formed when the entity in question will be owned by multiple individuals or companies.
TaylorMade’s New Entity Files Trademark Applications
Starting in June 2023, the newly formed entity began filing trademark applications in Jamaica. Trademark filings in Jamaica are not made public after submission, as they are in the United States.
Jamaica also happens to be a member of the Paris Convention, which is an international treaty signed by 180 countries. Under the Paris Convention, trademark applicants who file in any of the member countries can also file in any other member country within six months of the initial application and their new filing will receive the priority date from the initial application.
This approach is typically used by companies and individuals who want to have the earliest possible priority date but do not want the trademarks to be immediately known by the public.
Six months after the trademarks were filed in Jamaica, starting in December 2023 and continuing through January 2024, the newly formed LLC also filed to protect the same marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The US trademark applications referenced the Jamaican filings.
The four trademarks filed are:
- SUNDAY RED
- A logo for SUN DAY RED
- A tiger logo
- A tiger logo with the letters S, D, R
The Importance of the New Entity
There are two possible reasons for the creation of the new entity.
1. It was formed in an effort to hide the trademark filings.
Both parties have known entities that own their respective trademarks. These entities are public information and could be monitored for any new trademark filings.
The use of a new entity makes it more difficult to identify the filings when monitoring the federal trademark database in the United States.
2. It was formed to give Woods an ownership interest.
The fact that TaylorMade created a new company to own these trademarks also indicates that the entity was created solely for the partnership with Woods.
This suggests that Woods will have equity in both the trademarks and whatever project he is launching with TaylorMade
The subject of ownership interest is particularly interesting because while many athletes sign endorsement deals with companies, they rarely receive any piece of actual equity from the deal.
It’s important to note that the foregoing are only potential conclusions that can be drawn from reviewing the corporate and trademark filings. There are other possible reasons to explain why and when these filings occurred.
I’m very interested to hear any upcoming announcements from Woods and TaylorMade regarding their partnership and ownership of these trademarks.
If you are planning on partnering with another entity on a project, I recommend speaking with an attorney who can offer strategies to protect the interests of all parties, as well as any intellectual property created through the partnership.