Via my post on Seattle Copyright and Trademark:
Attorneys on behalf of Kobe Bryant have filed a Notice of Opposition against a Los Angeles company over the application to use The Black Mamba.
The company, 47/72, Inc., has until March 12th to file an answer.
The Notice of Opposition filed on January 31st claims that the intent to use the retired Lakers’ longtime nickname would cause a likelihood of confusion, false suggestion of a connection and the name consists of the name of a living individual without his consent.
The applicant filed an “intent to use” application (had not used the mark but intended to do so in the future) less than a week after Bryant’s last game in the NBA. The intent was to apparently sell clothing online. According to the Notice of Opposition the company has attempted to trademark famous phrases for its own benefit. Examples include “To Infinity and Beyond,” “Let it Go,” and “Nanu Nanu.”
Bryant’s attorneys had filed a Letter of Protest in May 2016 which was forwarded to the Examining Attorney. The applicant mark was opposed after it was published for opposition. Bryant’s attorneys requested and received an extension to file its opposition.
The case reflects the vigilance it takes to protect an existing trademark. It will also be an interesting case to see how the USPTO looks at this issue if the applicants decide to pursue the mark.