Basketball, Harvard, Intellectual Property, Sports, Trademarks

LINtellectual Property Concerns To Entertain Ivy League Grads Who Aren’t LINSANE

If you think I'm not ordering Jeremy Lin's #4 Crimson jersey you haven't been paying attention.

Thank God Jeremy Lin didn’t have a Tiger Mother. Professor Amy Chua would have prevented Jeremy Lin from playing sports and he’d probably be in law school now instead of saving the New York Knicks.

If you haven’t been following Jeremy Lin and the #LINSANITY phenomenon, GTFO here’s a quick recap: Taiwanese-American kid from California plays basketball for Harvard, goes undrafted by the NBA, gets cut by two teams, ends up getting some run for the Knicks because of teammates’ injuries, and then scores more points in his first five starts than anybody else in the history of the NBA — helping the Knicks to win six (and counting) games in a row.

It’s a great story. Lin has overcome a lot to get here. I mean, the story of the kid who goes to Harvard and remains humble instead of becoming a self-important douchebag is a Lifetime movie in and of itself.

Basketball pundits have been dissecting his game like the kid is the second coming of Tim Tebow. Cowardly boxers with a history of anti-Asian bigotry are tweeting about Lin because they’d rather pick on the Harvard kid than take their ass-kicking from Manny Pacquiao.

And I can’t wait, I mean I literally cannot wait, for Lin to really get into it on the issue of Taiwanese LINdependence from China. Kid went to Harvard, you know he has a considered opinion. When the history of World War Three is written, will it say it started with a point guard on the New York Knicks?

There are so many angles to this thing, but we’re going to focus on the legal one. Who owns the term “LINSANITY,” which became the hashtag associated with the Lin phenomenon?

Bloomberg News reports that two people have already tried to trademark “LINSANITY.” Unfortunately, one of them is probably the worst trademark claim since I tried to register “Fire Dolan.” From Bloomberg:

Yenchin Chang, a 35-year-old Alhambra, California, resident, was the first of two people to file a trademark application for the term “Linsanity.” The catch phrase is being used to describe the frenzy surrounding the Knicks point guard who got a 3-pointer in the last second to seal a 90-87 win against the Toronto Raptors last night.

Chang, who like Lin is of Taiwanese descent, said he isn’t affiliated with the 23-year-old, Harvard University-educated player who has guided the Knicks to a six-game winning streak after being released by the Golden State Warriors.

“I wanted to be a part of the excitement,” Chang, who attended East Los Angeles College and who works in the import/export business, said in a telephone interview. “I’m very proud of Jeremy.”

What? The basis of Chang’s claim is that he and Lin are both Taiwanese-Americans and it’s “exciting”? Can I trademark Blue Ivy because I’m black like Jay-Z and I might also one day name a kid something f***ing stupid?

Chang, obviously, is just trying to cash in on the Lin phenomenon:

Chang’s trademark application is for goods and services, including T-shirts and hats.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office exists to deny stupid marks like this. If this Chang dude wants to be part of the Lin experience, he should show up to the Garden and throw panties at him, and stop trying to profiteer off of Lin’s budding stardom.

The second application for a mark is slightly less garbage. It’s still stupid, but at least it’s from a person who has actually met Jeremy Lin:

The second filing was made on Feb. 9 by Andrew W. Slayton of Los Altos, California. An Andrew Slayton who said he used to coach Lin in high school told the New York Post that in 2010 he registered the domain names Linsanity.com and thejeremylinshow.com, where Lin-related merchandise is being sold.

Let’s say that this second mark actually makes it to the public comment phase. (Remember your IP courses: you have 30 days to contest a trademark.) Bloomberg says Lin is represented by Roger Montgomery of the Montgomery Sports Group. It doesn’t look like Montgomery is a lawyer, but he is a credible agent; after all, he’s represented former NBA star Gary Payton.

And if Lin really needs extra legal help, I’m sure there are a bunch of Harvard Law types who will gladly help him beat back these attempts to capitalize on his name. Or I can hook him up with sports arbitration guru David Rivkin. The Harvard alumni network might not have been helpful in getting Jeremy Lin on the floor, but maybe it can help him keep his money.

These trademark claimants won’t be able to stand up to Harvard LINterrogatories!

Knicks’ ‘Linsanity’ Reaches Trademark Office as Winning Streak Goes On [Bloomberg]

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