New Jersey residents and others who watched the Super Bowl may have seen a trick play called the “Philly Special.” The play involved a throw from the Eagles tight end to the quarterback, who caught the ball for a touchdown. On the Monday after the Super Bowl, one man filed an application for a trademark to the phrase Philly Special Cheesesteak. Another wanted to trademark the phrase for a clothing line.
One of the men who wanted to trademark the name got the idea after the Minnesota Vikings tried to trademark a phrase coined after the divisional round of the playoffs. In a game against New Orleans, the Vikings got a last-second touchdown that was dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle.” An attorney who was asked about the validity of the Philly Special trademark requests expressed some doubt as to whether applications related to the Super Bowl play would be approved.
It is possible that the Eagles could have grounds to oppose the trademark. For instance, the organization could claim that customers could be tricked into thinking that they were buying team merchandise. Furthermore, the term may become so common that it would not be eligible to be trademarked. The man seeking to use the trademark to sell clothing says that he may be willing to sell any trademark that he receives relating to the phrase.
As a general rule, almost any word or phrase has the potential to be trademarked. If an individual or entity obtains a trademark, that person or entity generally has exclusive rights to use that word, logo or other intellectual property. Anyone else who wishes to use it may need to pay for a license or otherwise obtain permission. Failure to do so might result in damages owed to the trademark holder.