Protecting Johnny Football®: Trademark Registration for Collegiate Athletes

Cho, Christie | February 1, 2015

While the issue of publicity rights for college athletes has intensified, “Johnny Football” illustrates a different property interest for student athletes, one that is independent from the rights of the NCAA. Trademark protection for symbols, names, and other marks affiliated with student-athletes provides an intriguing solution, especially at a time when the future of amateur college sports is uncertain. Furthermore, the availability of the “intent to use” application makes trademark registration a viable means of protecting intellectual property interests of student-athletes. This Comment uses “Johnny Football” as an example to illustrate this potential game-changer in defining and protecting the rights of student-athletes, regardless of the future of amateurism in collegiate athletics.