Trademarking Basketball

With the 2019 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament in full swing, most people probably aren’t thinking “hmm, I wonder if the NCAA owns any trademarks related to the Tournament?” But, maybe they should be. To date, the NCAA owns over twenty-four trademarks related to its annual Men’s Basketball Tournament. Unsurprisingly, those trademarks include such well-known phrases as “March Madness,” “Final Four”, “Elite Eight,” and “The Big Dance.” However, many would be surprised to learn that the NCAA has also trademarked such lesser-known phrases as “And Then There Were Four” and “68 Teams, One Dream.” Primarily, organizations like the NCAA trademark non-generic phrases or slogans that are suggestive of their product (in this case, the Tournament) in an effort to protect its rights in licensing, advertising, and its general reputation. With those goals in mind, the NCAA is not shy…

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