The Super Bowl is one of the most watched television events annually, with companies spending millions of dollars on advertisements during the game. So, why are so many companies afraid to actually use the term “Super Bowl” in their ads?
Inc. spoke with Josh Gerben about the NFL’s trademark rights to the term “Super Bowl.”
The NFL registered the SUPER BOWL trademark in 1969.
Since then, the league has earned a reputation as a diligent enforcer of its trademark rights given the vast number of demand letters and legal actions it has instituted over the years to protect the name.
While some think the enforcement is heavy handed, federal trademark law in the United States actually requires a trademark owner to enforce a trademark or risk losing some or all of the rights around a name.
In fact, the NFL has 96 registered U.S. trademarks, Gerben explained, including things like MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, NFL DRAFT, PRO BOWL, “and even the Vince Lombardi trophy itself.”
Therefore, if you see a commercial that references “The Big Game” or “The team from Kansas City,” you will know that they company did not pay any licensing fees to the NFL.
Source: Murphy Jr., Bill. https://www.inc.com. “Why Are So Many People Afraid to Admit That the Super Bowl Is Today? I Asked an Expert”. 11 February 2024.