Nearly a year and a half after Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles’ trademark application for “PHILLY SPECIAL” is still pending before the USPTO.
Back in 2017, immediately following Super Bowl LII, 10 trademark applications for “Philly Special” were filed by 10 different companies. It took the Eagles nearly 11 days to file their own application on February 15, making them the eighth entity in line. One other notable application was filed by a Philadelphia brewing company, Yuengling, for a brand of beer. However, Yuengling quickly withdrew their application after receiving public backlash for the filing.
Then, late last year, the USPTO reviewed the Eagles’ application and found that there were five total “Philly Special” trademarks that could potentially block the team’s application, which resulted in its suspension.
Fast forward to September of this year, and four of these other applications have abandoned for various reasons. The one that remains received an initial refusal because the USPTO found that “Philly Special” was a widely used message and therefore incapable of being registered as a trademark.
If this applicant is unable to get around that refusal, their application will likely abandon sometime later this year. This leaves the Eagles with a clear path to registration, as long as the government does not find the phrase too widely used for even them to trademark. Given that this type of refusal was not initially issued in their application, the government may overlook it and move the Eagles’ application forward to a registration.
As a side note, there is a trademark application for baked goods that was not cited against the Eagles for “Philly Special.” The application was moving along quite nicely, until Kraft Foods stated that they may oppose the application, presumably on grounds of their “Philly” trademark for cream cheese. Kraft Foods has 30 days to officially oppose the application before the other company can move forward with their registration.