Last month, Leonid and I discussed intellectual property with two business law classes at Federal Way High School. The business law classes are part of the career and technical education classes now being offered in Washington State schools to help students “graduate from high school globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the 21st century.” Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, www.k12.wa.us.
Our discussion included a presentation focusing on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. We also went over examples of each type of intellectual property and facilitated activities in which the students participated. I was amazed at the well-thought-out questions by the students and the (mostly) correct answers, even to our trick questions! I would definitely love to return! Also, we received some pretty awesome thank you letters from the students.
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!
As a Seattlelite, I am trying to move on from the dreaded Super Bowl XLIX, featuring my favorite team, the Seahawks. However, some headlines from the game linger. No, not the last play. No, not another win by the Patriots.
Two months after the Superbowl, we are still hearing about “Left Shark,” one of the back-up dancers during Katy Perry’s halftime performance. Left shark danced alongside Katy Perry with Right Shark, but appeared to stray from the choreography and at times seemed uncomfortable and awkward on stage. Due to his interesting performance, the hashtag #leftshark immediately began trending and SB Nation even jokingly declared Left Shark, the MVP of the Superbowl. On February 6, 2015, Katy Perry, company Killer Queen applied for the word mark “Left Shark” for use on cell phone covers, stickers, mugs, shirts, and toys, as well as for live performances. Trademark applications were also filed for the phrases “Right Shark,” “Drunk Shark,” and “Basking Shark,” and front and side views of a shark.
Since the fast rise of Left Shark, Katy Perry appears to have been busy enforcing her intellectual property rights and working to market Left Shark merchandise. Through her lawyer, at least one cease and desist letter was sent, to Fernando Sosa, who offered for sale, a 3-D printed sculpture of a shark, shortly after the Superbowl. Also, earlier this month, Katy Perry announced that all Left Shark fans can purchase a #LeftShark onsie for $129.99. Left Shark, I hope to see more of you in the future! You’ll always be my favorite memory from Superbowl XLIX (since the Seahawks didn’t win!).