In 2006, the NFL attempted to register THE BIG GAME trademark but abandoned that attempt after it met with opposition from a whole bunch of companies including Wal-Mart, Taco Bell and Kellogg, to name a few. Since that time, the “Big Game” was seen as the generic term that advertisers could use but are things about to change?
If you haven’t noticed, when many advertisers refer to the Superbowl, they call it “The Big Game”. Advertisers do this because the do not have permission to use the NFL’s SUPERBOWL registered trademark. It was way back in Superbowl 48, that we first broke down when it is permissible to use the SUPERBOWL trademark or when you have to use the generic “Big Game” mark. If you want to read about these do’s and dont’s you can check it out here. Since the writing of this article, the NFL has continued its rigid enforcement of the SUPERBOWL trademark and even opposed the registration of a soup brand called SOUPER BOWL because the NFL believes it was too similar to its trademark. It seemed safe to still use that THE BIG GAME MARK…until now.
In late 2014, an indivudal in California filed a trademark registration for the BIG GAME DAME mark to cover athletic gear such as shirts, pants and jackets. The applicant claims that the mark is already in use and filed the “in use” specimen that can be seen below. The specimen is nothing more than a ratty plain white t-shirt that someone stuck a homemade label on from their old Brother P-Touch. Alright, this all seems a bit shady but we will put the skepticism to the side.

![Image of Big Game Dame Trademark]( "Image of Big Game Dame Trademark")
BIG GAME DAME trademark sample.
More germane than the earnestness of this trademark application, in December 2015 the mark was published for opposition. On January 26th, the NFL requested and was granted an extension of time to oppose issuance of the trademark. This is the usual first step that allows the parties time to try to work out a settlement, allows the opposer additional time to draft the opposition or even allows the opposer time to reevaluate its position and not even file an opposition in the first place. This potential opposition is not an isolated incident. On the same day, the NFL was also granted an extension of time to oppose an entirely different mark by another clothing company, BIG GAME DAY ARE YOU READY! A month earlier, the NFL also requested an extension of time to oppose this same clothing company’s BIG GAME mark. Three potential trademark oppositions over the use of BIG GAME in a month’s time, where there is smoke there could be some fire. So it appears as though the NFL may again be laying claim to THE BIG GAME mark.  Back in 2010, the NFL was granted an extension of time to oppose the BIG GAME CAMMO mark but never did file an opposition. We will have to wait to see what the NFL does with these pending marks. If the NFL opposes the BIG GAME mark I can imagine the backlash will be just as great from many companies and people. Enjoy the Superbowl, the Big Game, the football contest between the Broncos of Denver and the Panthers of Carolina this Sunday!