New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady created a minor stir this year when a law firm uncovered his application to trademark “Tom Terrific” — a nickname most commonly associated with legendary pitcher Tom Seaver — for commercial use. Seaver’s fans were outraged, and Brady tried to backtrack by saying he filed the trademark application only to stop people from associating him with the nickname.
It’s probably a moot point: On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused Brady’s application, saying it “includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Seaver.”
“The mark TOM TERRIFIC points uniquely and unmistakably to Tom Seaver and the fame or reputation of Tom Seaver as ‘Tom Terrific’ is such that a connection between Mr. Seaver and the applied-for goods would be presumed,” the USPTO wrote in a document found in its trademark-application database.
The USPTO also denied Brady’s petition because it conjures up images of a living individual who did not provide consent for Brady to use the nickname.
Brady’s legal team has six months to reply to the ruling or else his application will be abandoned, the trademark office said in its ruling. Considering the regret he showed when news of his application first broke, it seems probable Brady will take the loss here.
“It’s unfortunate,” Brady said in June. “I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname and I wanted to make sure no one used it because some people wanted to use it. I was trying to keep people from using it, and then it got spun around to something different than what it is. Good lesson learned, and I’ll try to do things a little different in the future. …
“It wasn’t something I was trying to do out of any disrespect or ill manner or anything like that.”
Brady’s trademark application was especially condemned by New Yorkers who fondly remember Seaver’s time with the New York Mets.
“I feel like Tom Brady, it’s bad enough he’s deflating footballs. Now he’s deflating his reputation,” Peter T. King, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, said at the time. “There’s only one ‘Tom Terrific,’ and that’s Tom Seaver.”
Said Democratic House member Tom Suozzi, also from New York: “He’s a Republican. I’m a Democrat. And we both agree there will always only be one ‘Tom Terrific.’ ”
In March, it was announced that the 74-year-old Seaver would be making no more public appearances because he has dementia.
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