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I Do Not Believe That It Will Win

Unfortunately, Aztec Shops Ltd’s belief “that it will win” was not enough to win over the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) in order to secure a trademark registration. Aztec Shops Ltd is the owner of the San Diego State University bookstore, among other entities. In 2011, it applied to register as a trademark the catch phrase  “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN” heard in many sports stadiums around the country. Aztec attempted to claim a trademark right associated with its use of this phrase on apparel.  The United States Soccer Federation successfully challenged the registration. “I Believe That We Will Win” was prominently used during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, by fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team. However, the TTAB noted that this phrase has been widely used over a long period of time by various groups.

The case illustrates a point for potential trademark applicants. Aztec appears to have sold more than $70,000 worth of apparel including this phrase. However, this was not enough to register such a commonly used phrase. A trademark must function to identify a single source of goods or services in commerce. The more commonly a phrase is used, the less likely that the public will identify the phrase as associated with only one source, and the less likely that it will be recognized as a trademark. In this case, the widespread use of the chant made it almost impossible for anyone to identify this mark as identifying Aztec alone. As a result, the phrase failed to function as a trademark.

The case before the TTAB is:  United States Soccer Federation, Inc. v. Aztec Shops, Ltd., case number 91220225.

DISCLAIMERThe information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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