“Don’t be a Clown Bro,” Heavy hitters weigh in on protection of pro athlete catch phrases

Can professional athletes’ get exclusive rights to catch phrases like “DON’T BE A CLOWN BRO,”? 

OberIPwatch’s Scott Johnson says that if catch phrase is is associated with the athlete, a catch phrase can become part of the athlete’s persona. Johnson was quoted in Sunday’s Maryland Daily Record article by Matt Owings:

“…their persona is a brand,” Johnson said. “I don’t see it as something to take away from their accomplishments as athletes. They have to continue to do that or no one will care about their trademarks.” Johnson sees the trend as a simple rise in the awareness of athletes and their representation. “As time goes on, there’s more of a perception of a value of intellectual property,” he said.

Under Armor is already cashing in on Nationals rookie Bryce Harper’s fledgling persona with “Don’t be a Clown Bro” tag line t-shirts.  Read it at the Daily Record here

Last Fall on OberIPwatch, Johnson weighed in on Cafe Hon’s catch phrase woes. The owner of Cafe Hon created a firestorm of press coverage when she attempted to police her HON trademark against Baltimoreans claiming cultural ownership of  “Hon”,  Baltimore’s homegrown term of endearment.  The bad press was not good for business.  Eventually Gordon Ramsay convinced Cafe Hon to abandon its HON trademark registrations as a public gesture of goodwill.