- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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Johnny Manziel is one step closer to officially being "Johnny Football."
On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent a letter to Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, which had filed for the "Johnny Football" trademark before Manziel, rejecting its claim that the phrase wasn't referring to an individual.
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual whose written consent to register the mark is not of record," the examining attorney wrote. To make the case, the attorney attached articles that referred to Manziel as "Johnny Football."
The investment firm, based in College Station, Texas, filed for the trademark on Nov. 1, 2012, as Manziel rose to prominence in the town, and throughout the country, as Texas A&M's star quarterback. Manziel's organization, JMAN2 Enterprises, filed for the trademark three months later.
The firm now has up to six months to either request the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reconsider or file an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The company's attorney Stephen Hollas could not be immediately reached.
Manziel's filing, which was put on hold in December, will be reopened after a final resolution is reached on the Reynolds filing.
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5dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information