The NFL pressures a man who tries to trademark the phrase “Harbowl,” showing that the league is serious about keeping its marketing options in place for Super Bowl XLVII.
The man the NFL is pressuring, Roy Fox, had a good prediction when he spent $1,000 to file trademarks for “Harbowl” and “Harbaugh Bowl” last February. The Baltimore Ravens, coached by John Harbaugh, will face the San Francisco 49ers, coached by his brother Jim Harbaugh, in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“Right before the conference championship games last year, I thought to myself, ‘Can you imagine if these guys played each other? ‘” Fox told ESPN. “If Pat Riley would go through the trouble of trademarking three-peat, why shouldn’t I try this?”
The NFL started its pressure on the man back in August, sending Fox a letter saying his trademarks could be easily confused with the league’s trademark of Super Bowl. The league also contended that Fox was in no way affiliated with the NFL or either team.
“There were two questions asked of him,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Was he affiliated with any NFL teams? The answer was no. And was he in any way affiliated with the Harbaugh brothers? And that answer was no.”
The NFL has not trademarked Harbowl or sought to, but it is enjoying publicity the first ever match-up of brothers for the Super Bowl. The excitement isn’t exactly sweeping over the Harbaugh brothers, ESPN noted — they said the don’t plan to talk the week before the game, and view the attention on them as a distraction.
As the NFL pressures the man, the league also seems to offer no reimbursement. Fox said he asked for the NFL to cover his filing costs, and also asked for a couple of season tickets to the Colts and an autographed photo of commissioner Roger Goodell. Those requests were denied.
As the NFL pressures the man, legal experts think there may be little chance of the league winning the suit Mark McKenna, an intellectual law professor at Notre Dame, said the NFL has been known to be aggressive in such cases with the hope of making the other person back off.