The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has ruled against an investment firm who filed to trademark "Johnny Football" on the grounds that it wasn't referring to an individual.
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual whose written consent to register the mark is not of record," the examining attorney wrote. To make the case, the attorney attached articles that referred to Manziel as "Johnny Football."
Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments filed for the trademark in November, 2012. Three months later, the company representing Manziel, JMAN Enterprises, filed for the trademark.
If the Reynolds appeal is denied or there is no appeal at all, Manziel's company will have a clear pathway to trademark the name. That would mean exclusive rights to all "Johnny Football" related merchandise and licensing usage.
Given Manziel's popularity, that's a lot of potential coin.
Would the "Johnny Football" brand be better served with Manziel being drafted by the Houston Texans or the 2012 Heisman Winner playing in another market? Given College Station's proximity to Houston, Manziel is already a hero in that part of the state. A&M fans (and other Texan fans) would likely gobble up any and all Manziel merchandise if he became a Texan. However, those same A&M fans, even if they're Texan fans, would probably still make purchases if, say, Manziel went to the Browns. And that's not even counting all the Browns fans who would line up for Manziel apparel.
While staying around may make Manziel more of a legend in southeastern Texas, it may be better for business if he plays professionally in another region.
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