Kentucky Fights for “40-0” Season and Trademark Rights

By Joseph Mandour on April 3, 2015

basketballOrange County – College basketball’s March Madness is down to the Final Four of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke who will be playing this weekend for a place in the national championship game on Monday.

Having made it to the Final Four, the University of Kentucky is steps away from not just bringing home the trophy. Kentucky is also two games away from a historic season. The Wildcats are 2 wins away from an undefeated “40-0” season. If accomplished, it would be the first perfect season in college basketball since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers who finished 32-0.

As the chances of the perfect season have increased, so has Kentucky’s interest in use of “40-0” as a trademark. The only problem for Kentucky is that in February of this year 40-0, LLC filed a U.S. Trademark Application for 40-0 for use in relation to apparel.

Thereafter in early March, the company received a cease and desist letter from Kentucky in regard to the “40-0” Trademark Application and merchandise. The letter states that “we are working to vigorously protect UK’s trademark rights in the marketplace from those that use the institution’s indicia without permission.”

40-0, LLC was incorporated in the state of Kentucky in October 2013 before being dissolved the following August. It has since been reinstated. According the company’s lawyers, the fact that the company has existed for more than a year, and was reinstated shows that it is the true owner of the 40-0 trademark, and therefore Kentucky should have no claim to the phrase.

Merchandise with the 40-0 phrase is available at the website www.40and0.com and while the site offers a variety of colors (including Kentucky’s blue and white), the website states: “We are not affiliated in any way with any particular athletic organization, University, athletic program, professional or collegiate. (sic)”

The trademark application claims that the 40-0 trademark has been in use since October of 2014. Amid allegations from the University, David Son of 40-0, LLC claims that he is not trying to capitalize off of Kentucky’s historic season. At this time, Kentucky has not filed its own 40-0 trademark, nor would it begin to sell merchandise with such a phrase for fear of jinxing the team. However, should Kentucky’s season end in the perfect 40-0 record, Mr. Son will be hearing from Kentucky’s lawyers again.

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