The real-life drama involving “Broken” Matt Hardy and whether he should use this super-popular gimmick or not in WWE is one that could rival any scripted pro wrestling storyline. And with Impact Wrestling (formerly known as TNA) having recently made parts of Matt Hardy’s old contract available for public viewing, the latest developments behind the scenes suggest that the 42-year-old wrestling veteran’s attempt to trademark his “Broken” gimmick wasn’t successful.
When Matt and Jeff Hardy chose not to re-sign with Impact Wrestling in March of this year and left the company on seemingly acrimonious terms, one thing Matt did to make sure he could use the gimmick that became a surprise hit with wrestling fans was to apply to have it trademarked. Even with The Hardy Boyz’ former employers claiming ownership, the fact that the “Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick was filed as a trademark application left fans optimistic that the ball was in their court.
That seems to have changed over the past few days, following some drastic moves on Impact’s part, including an exclusive interview with Impact Wrestling president Ed Nordholm, where, as the Inquisitr wrote, he expressed confidence in ownership of the Broken Universe gimmicks the Hardys, particularly Matt, claim they created. Nordholm also alleged that WWE isn’t interested in pursuing the gimmicks, a revelation that took many fans by surprise.
With Nordholm having upped the ante earlier this week by releasing “Broken” Matt Hardy’s Impact Wrestling contract, it would appear that the Hardys’ fight to bring the Broken Universe to WWE has hit another roadblock. According to PWInsider, Matt’s trademark application for the “Broken” gimmick was initially refused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with the agency’s refusal reading as follows.
“Registration is refused because the applied-for mark, as used on the specimen of record, identifies only the name of a particular character/personal name; it does not function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant’s services.”
In layman’s terms, the USPTO seems to have refused the “Broken” Matt Hardy trademark application does not sufficiently establish Matt’s gimmick as being distinct from other professional wrestling personas. As the refusal was released yesterday, Hardy has six months from Thursday, May 25 to respond before the trademark application is officially abandoned.
As WWE fans continued to witness on Monday Night RAW, there were only brief moments when “Broken” Matt Hardy was truly evoking the “broken brilliance” he showcased last year on Impact, back when it was still known as TNA. Apparently, Matt had no choice, even though the WWE Universe was clearly begging to see more than just brief teases, as evidenced by their frequent “delete” chants and hand gestures.
Forbes wrote that even if WWE chooses not to directly involve itself in the ongoing legal wrangling, and even with Matt Hardy’s Impact contract stating that the company does have a right to his gimmick, it wouldn’t be surprising if Matt decides to take matters into his own hands and buy the gimmick himself. That can be inferred from text messages released by Impact’s Ed Nordholm, which included one where Matt said he was “open to receiving an offer for the intellectual property of the Broken Brilliance Gimmick.”
The publication also quoted the Wrestling Observer‘s Dave Meltzer, who opined that WWE’s hands-off approach doesn’t necessarily mean that the company isn’t interested in the “Broken” Matt Hardy gimmick or any other Broken Universe gimmicks.
“If (WWE) had no interest in (the Broken Universe), Matt would be told ‘you will not be doing this stuff.'”
As of now, the he said, she said salvos between the Hardys and Impact Wrestling continue unabated. But since the “Broken” Matt Hardy trademark application was only initially refused, there’s still a lot of time for Matt to respond and restate his case, in hopes of getting his popular gimmick trademarked once and for all.
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