When I hear the name Marshawn Lynch or his nickname “Beast Mode,” I think of an awesome football player that makes huge running plays and of course, Skittles. However, he is much more than football. Lynch co-founded the charity, Fam 1st Family Foundation, which helps improve the lives of children through mentoring, education, literacy, and self-esteem.
Lynch donates valuable time and resources to the foundation, including all money generated from four registered trademarks for “Beast Mode.” The four registrations cover t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, caps, watches, and sunglasses. Additionally, three more applications for the mark “Beast Mode” are pending for headphones, bracelets, sport bags, candy, and non-alcoholic beverages.
To ensure the “Beast Mode” trademarks remain valuable, they are actively monitored and so far, licensing has been limited. In an article by ESPN, Darren Rovell explains that Lynch turns away about five proposals for licensing a month and every design must be approved by Lynch. Lynch’s strict guidelines regarding use of the mark “Beast Mode” have assisted in protecting the mark and commanding a high royalty fee, which Lynch donates to his foundation to benefit youth. Thus, Marshawn Lynch is not only successful on the field, but off as well!
In Kimble et al. v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, No. 13–720, decided June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court held that stare decisis requires the Court to adhere to the precedent set by Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U. S. 29 (1964), in which the Court held that a patent holder cannot charge royalties for the use of his invention after his patent term has expired. Stephen Kimble obtained a patent in 1990 for a toy that allows role-playing adults and children to get more into their character as “a spider person.” Kimble’s U.S. Patent No. 5,072,856 (‘856) covers a toy web-shooting glove that delivers a pressurized string foam from a hidden container through a valve incorporated into the glove. Kimble entered into an agreement with the predecessor of Marvel Entertainment that provided for their purchase of the ‘856 patent in exchange for a lump sum and a 3% royalty payment on future sales of Marvel’s Web Blaster toy and similar products. The parties set no end date for royalties. In negotiating the agreement, neither party was familiar with the Brulotte decision. Upon discovering Brulotte, Marvel sought a declaratory judgment confirming that the company could cease paying royalties at the end of Kimble’s patent term. The district court granted relief, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Kimble asked the Supreme Court to overrule Brulotte, but the Court declined under the principles of stare decisis, whilst observing “in this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility.”