Dallas Mavericks Fail To Get Trademark For Its Star Player’s Nickname

We’ve not been shy about pointing out that the recent practice by famous athletes of trademarking their nicknames all seems somewhat silly. The whole thing smacks of some combination of a money-grab over terms often not coined by the athletes themselves, and the kind of protectionism by the famous that is just all the rage these days. A recent incidence of this concerning the trademark application for Luka Doncic’s nickname carried with it a twist, however, in that the applicant was not by Doncic himself, but by the Dallas Mavericks, the team for which he plays. The thrust of our post on the matter was roughly: well, that seems kind of shitty. After all, NBA players tend not to play for the same teams forever, though it’s worth pointing out that the Mavericks pulled this off with Dirk Nowitzki, so there’s that. Still, should Doncic move to another team, what happens to that trademark on his nickname?

Mark Cuban appeared to show up in the comments.

Typical techdirt. Don’t ask why. Dont do any research. Just pretend they know something

We have been grabbing player urls and trademarking and copyrighting player related terms for years.

It’s to protect players.

You know what’s worst than your article ? Some scammer trademarking or copyrighting a nickname or slogan they read about online

All of our players have the right to use them, but never do. They just appreciate that we are looking out for them.

After I was done yawning at the “Typical techdirt” part of the comment, it took me roughly thirty seconds to think up a far more player-friendly option: the team could simply educate its players on how to trademark their own nicknames if they so choose, rather than attempting to trademark them itself. After all, the team is just looking out for the players, right? My research into our own comments tells me that the Mavs do, at least.

It would probably also help protect the players if the team was successful at the trademark process, something that was most certainly not the case this go around.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office denied the Dallas Mavericks’ trademark applications for two of Luka Doncic’s nicknames. The Mavericks sought to acquire the rights THE MATADOR and EL MATADOR, last December. Doncic picked up the nickname of Matador while playing for Real Madrid in Spain before joining the NBA .

According to trademark lawyer Josh Gerben, who has been following the application process, the refusal isn’t a surprise. In a video posted to Twitter, he states that the reason that the applications were rejected was because the USPTO found 20 other preexisting Matador trademarks that it views as too similar to Doncic’s marks.

Gerben went on to note that the team may have made its application harder to approve by packing as many market designations into it as it possibly could. This is somewhat common, but for a mark that is already approved for other markets, this broad shotgun-based approach doesn’t win you any points with the USPTO. It’s also the case that protecting players is not a market onto itself, meaning that the Mavericks would have had to show a real intent to use the marks in the markets requested. Perhaps a failure to do so also counted against the application.

I’ll give Cuban credit where it’s due, however, because often times when he’s quoted I find myself falling just a little bit more in love with him.

For now at least, it doesn’t look like Doncic will have to worry about the Mavericks acquiring the rights to his Matador nickname. The team won’t be challenging the USPTO’s ruling. When contacted, Cuban was blunt about the ruling.

“Shit happens,” Cuban said via email. “Moving on.”

Never change, Mark. Well, maybe just a little…

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