The Seattle Seahawks want “boom” and “12” all to themselves.
The team is making a move to trademark the phrase “boom,” which is often used in reference to its hard-hitting defense, and the word “12” in reference to the team’s fans, known as “the 12th man.”
The trademarks would deal mostly with Seahawks-related gear, and the wording is written so it specifically covers clothing and memorabilia. Essentially, the team does not want knock-off T-shirts or flags with the term “Legion of Boom” or “The 12s” without its approval. Children who celebrate their 12th birthday or say “boom” at watching fireworks would have nothing to fear.
But the trademark attempts are still causing a stir, with many noting that these phrases have existed long before the Seattle Seahawks adopted them. The Texas A&M football program has actually has a trademark on “the 12th Man” for decades, and has a contract to allow the Seattle Seahawks to adopt the term (the Buffalo Bills do as well, and in 1992 put The 12th Man on its wall of fame within Ralph Wilson Stadium).
The Seattle Times noted that the phrases are actually pretty engrained in football history:
“Football and the word ‘boom’ have been married for decades, long before someone nicknamed Seahawks defenders the ‘Legion of Boom.’ Way back in the 1960s, Minnesota Vikings running back Bill Brown was known as ‘Boom-Boom’ for his similarly punishing style.
“Ex-coach John Madden bellowed ‘boom’ during play-by-play TV broadcasts so often that, by the 1990s, it became his personal catchword, used in commercials featuring the popular pitchman.”
The Seahawks are one of the most aggressive teams in protecting their brand, noted Scott Andresen, a sports entertainment attorney in Chicago.
“They’ve always been a little aggressive about securing intellectual property for themselves,” said Andresen, who has worked with other professional franchises. “They’ve really taken the position that the more intellectual property, the better.”
But as Seattle residents can attest, there may be a good reason that the Seattle Seahawks want to trademark the phrases “boom” and “12.” Many area restaurants and businesses have capitalized on the number 12, using it in promotions and even in names of wines.