SBD/January 17, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ravens' Terrell Suggs In Legal Fight For Rights To "Ball So Hard University"

Bussells applied for trademark on Ball So Hard University a few days after Suggs said it
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs during NBC's telecast of the Nov. 6 game against the Steelers referred to his alma mater as "Ball So Hard University," but Suggs' "failure to game-plan the moment with a lawyer has now become a scramble to recover the trademark," according to Eriq Gardner of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Within a few days of the telecast, entrepreneur Brian Bussells "applied for a trademark on 'Ball So Hard University' so he could use the mark on T-shirts and other apparel." Suggs about 10 days later "attempted his own trademark registration," and the two now are "fighting over who gets to use 'Ball So Hard.'" Suggs is President & CEO of Team Sizzle Worldwide, which after registering a trademark had the company's lawyer send a "cease-and-desist letter to Bussells, who is also selling merchandise at BallSoHardU.com" The legal notice "says that use of the mark is false and misleading, creates confusion, and also violates Suggs' rights of publicity." Gardner noted in Bussells' favor, he "got to the trademark office first and Suggs might not have been the first to use the mark in commerce" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/16). In Baltimore, Steve Kilar noted three days after the November game, Suggs "showed up at a news conference wearing a Ball So Hard University T-shirt, telling reporters that 'there is some way you can get them … that has nothing to do with me.'" Bussells said that the shirt Suggs "wore that day had come off Bussells' press." The applications by Suggs and Bussells are "pending, and legal experts say they likely won't be taken up by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before mid-February." Most of the other online sellers of Ball So Hard University products have "removed their wares, fearful of legal action by a football player with deep pockets" (Baltimore SUN, 1/14).
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