Around the NFC West: Jan. 24, 2013
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick might as well be the one controlling who profits from the touchdown celebration bearing his name.
"Kaepernicking" is not the sort of thing we discuss around here. We're generally more interested in touchdowns than how players celebrate them. But the subject is gaining in relevance after Kaepernick filed paperwork to trademark his little post-scoring routine.
"I'm hoping he is not too involved in that process," supninerfan wrote in the comments section of an earlier item.
We've seen athletes make similar moves in the past. Tim Tebow had his reasons for trademarking his reflective move. Robert Griffin III trademarked a catch phrase and an acronym.
I highly doubt Kaepernick is fixating on trademarks. Everything about how he has played so far suggests he's focusing on opposing defenses. Like other high-profile athletes, he pays agents and marketing representatives to worry about such things.
ESPN.com wrote about the subject over the summer, quoting an intellectual property rights attorney this way:
"It’s extremely important. One of the main reasons is for economic reasons. You don’t want other companies, other individuals, making a profit off of your name or your logo or your brand, so it’s extremely important for athletes to rush to secure all the IP [intellectual property] rights so others don’t make a profit off of them. It’s also good just in terms of brand building. As athletes start to build their brand, it’s good to start to protect their individual property rights as soon as possible."
Of course, it's no surprise to seen an intellectual property rights attorney advocating the use of intellectual property rights attorneys.
But if companies are going to aggressively protect such things, why shouldn't representatives for athletes do the same? I think it makes sense within reason, and that Kaepernick's moves fall into the "within reason" category -- particularly as he continues to play at a high level.