Show Nav

Trademark Madness

1280px-USAirwaysCenter-2008NCAAWestRegional

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is full of well-known trademarks. The NCAA hits its viewers over and over with “March Madness,” “Sweet 16,” “Elite 8,” “Final Four,” and “Big Dance,” like a skilled point guard dropping dimes.

But, a number of these better known marks were not actually coined by the NCAA. Most notably, the use of “March Madness” started more than 70 years ago in connection with Illinois state high school basketball tournament. However, Brent Musburger, a well-known CBS broadcaster who started his career in the Chicago area and was familiar with the phrase, interjected the phrase into the network’s 1982 NCAA tournament coverage, and unwittingly tipped off a contested dispute over the rights.

It may not be considered a Cinderella story, but the Illinois High School Association held its own during its dance with the NCAA. After years of fighting and negotiations, the two eventually settled by agreeing to transfer all rights to a holding company, with each taking a license to use “March Madness” in association with their respective basketball tournament. The two also agreed to split the profits of licensing the mark, and the high school association uses its share to fund college scholarships for Illinois high school students.

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.

More from IP Insights