Ever wanted to don a top that read “In Crop We Trust” or “Hero in a Half-Shirt”? Well, you better get to the screen-printing shop now because if Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott gets his way, he’ll soon own those phrases.
Earlier this month, the 20-year-old crop-top enthusiast submitted applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark five words and phrases, including the two above, as well as his nicknames”Zeke” and “Eze” and what sounds like a perfectly sound business idea, “Zeke’s Crop Top Bar and Grill,” the Associated Press reports.
Zeke — we don’t have to pay for the name yet — declined to comment.
While Elliott’s potentially trademark-worthy phrases may be the silliest, they’re not the first. Athletes — mostly professional, but now also an increasing number of college players — have been trademarking things they say for years.
“It’s extremely important,” Jaia Thomas, an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights, told ESPN in 2011, after former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, now of the Washington Redskins, trademarked the phrase “unbelievably believable.”
“One of the main reasons is for economic reasons,” Thomas said. “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.”
In other words, while Elliott, who ran for 1,878 yards last season, likes to go halfsies with his shirts, he’s not willing to do the same when it comes to his potential profits.
Clearly, Zeke’s Crop Top Bar and Grill is going to be big.
(H/t: For the Win)