This year has been pandemonium in legal battles with collegiate athletes and their governing body, the NCAA, in terms of rightful compensation from being featured in video games to a rejected bid to unionize (like in Northwestern’s case).
But with everything, there’s always a loophole waiting to be discovered and Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is making ruts in that terrain for future players to come.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Elliott has filed five separate patents pertaining to his condensed names (Eze, Zeke) and his signature on-the-field attire (“hero in a half shirt,” “in crop top we trust”), which Fifth Down Enterprises took care of for Elliott.
The craze of licensing and branding what a collegiate athlete does was popularized by Johnny Maniziel by a simple hand gesture and, which later, entitled the now-Cleveland Browns scrambler to own the moniker, Johnny Football.
While the idea continues to resonate in the eyes of collegiate players as means as avoiding legal proceedings, professional athletes also chip in in avenues that promise them another source for a paycheck. Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Mode” and Jeremy Lin’s “Linsanity” have each been locked down with proper documentation to avoid any prohibited outside use of what’s theirs.
Ryan Hibbert, an I.P. and sports law attorney out of Northern Florida:
“It’s a gradual move toward commercializing the sport. As the demarcation between amateurism and professionalism further erodes, you’re going to see these guys get even more savvy about branding matters.”
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports