SBD/April 4, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Manziel, Friend File For Conflicting "The House That Johnny Built" Trademark

NFL Draft prospect Johnny Manziel "continues to set himself up to cash in on his future," as his reps "filed for more trademarks recently, including 'The House That Johnny Built,'" according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. But Manziel is "actually second in line" for the trademark, which refers to the renovated Kyle Field. Fitch Estate Sales, a company "owned by the family of Nate Fitch, Manziel's friend who was with the quarterback at many of the autograph signings that resulted in a half-game suspension, was first to the phrase." Fitch's mother, Rachel, declined to comment. But her attorney, Gerald Fowler, said, "My guess is that there was a lack of communication here." If Fitch and Manziel were "on the same page, one has to wonder why Manziel's team filed for the phrase on its own." Fowler said that he "hasn't had any conversations with Manziel's attorneys about pursuing the trademark together." But if Fitch "doesn't have approval from Manziel, it might be tough for him to win the rights." A trademark that "refers to a living individual often has to be approved by that person" (ESPN.com, 4/3).

NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL: In Texas, Robert Cessna writes Manziel "doesn't need a few pennies from T-shirts and hats with 'The House That Johnny Built.'" This is "not good PR for Manziel, nor A&M." Cessna: "I've already heard 'Johnny Be Greedy' and 'Johnny Be Gone' with I'm sure more to come." Manziel "better be careful or there could be a few disgruntled fans" (Bryan-College Station EAGLE, 4/4). ESPN's Mike Golic said, “Coaches are going to think, 'Where is his focus right now? Is his focus on football or is it getting his phrases trademarked so he can market them? What next? Is he going to have all of these meetings to look at what shirts or pants these phrases go on?'" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 4/4).
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