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Trademark Ruling for Yankees' Judge Shows Perception Matters

A recent landmark ruling in a trademark infringement action may make it easier for celebrity athletes to claim signature phrases and slogans connected with them. 

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) recently ruled that a Long Island man could not trademark two judicial-themed slogans — “All Rise” and “Here Comes The Judge” — because the slogans were already strongly associated with baseball superstar Aaron Judge, captain and right fielder of the New York Yankees. What’s noteworthy about this precedent-setting decision is that neither Judge nor any entity connected with Major League Baseball had filed for a trademark application for the phrases.
In this Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article written by Douglas Masters, managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office, and Advanced Media & Technology partner Seth Rose the authors explore the trademark infringement ruling against Michael P. Chisena, who sought to trademark slogans already associated with baseball superstar Aaron Judge. In addition, the authors discuss the importance of public perception in trademark disputes.