The Philadelphia Eagles Must Wait in Line for “Philly Special” Trademark
Orange County – Fresh off its first-ever Super Bowl win, on February 15th the Philadelphia Eagles filed a U.S. Trademark Application for “Philly Special” for apparel. The phrase “Philly Special” was made famous by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl in relation to a trick play. The phrase was called out by the team in the second quarter, on a fourth-and-goal when QB Nick Foles caught the ball in the end zone. Days after the Super Bowl win the Eagles were already using the phrase on shirts with the team’s logo.
One problem for the Eagles is that on February 9th, six days earlier than the Eagles, D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. also filed a U.S. Trademark Application for Philly Special. Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery and is also located in Pennsylvania. Since Yuengling filed its Philly Special trademark application first, Yuengling could possibly have maintained prior rights. However, to avoid the conflict, Yuengling decided to expressly abandon its application so that the phrase could instead be owned by the Eagles. Yuengling was going to use the phrase for one of its beers but after learning that the Eagles had plans to use the trademark, instead decided to simply abandon it.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Yuengling was not alone in filing for Philly Special before the team did. During the three days from February 5th to February 8th, a total of six such trademark applications were filed.
The trademark office will examine the Philly Special trademark applications in the order that they were filed, so the original application filed by Joseph Tallarico for sandwiches could possibly be approved even though it is the Eagles that made the phrase famous. The second application for Philly Special filed by Nathaniel Shoshan for apparel could also be approved due to the differing goods. All of the other applications would then be rejected due to the prior filings. It would then be up to the Eagles to oppose one or both of the prior filed applications by claiming that it is the team that made the phrase famous and therefore the team is the true owner of the trademark. It is also possible that the trademark will be aware of the prior fame of the trademark and then reject all applications other than the one filed by the Eagles.
The Minnesota Vikings were also in the news recently for filing a trademark application related to a play in the NFL playoffs. The Vikings filed a trademark application for “Minnesota Miracle” which became famous for a memorable pass that got them to the NFC Championship game, which they lost to the Eagles.