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Quarterback moves to trademark 'Tebowing'
As a rookie playing for the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow was photographed bowing in prayer in the end zone on one knee.
October 20th, 2012
05:09 PM ET

Quarterback moves to trademark 'Tebowing'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Thou shalt not Tebow, for the wages of Tebowing is trademark infringement.

A management and consulting firm representing New York Jets back-up quarterback and evangelical sports icon Tim Tebow has moved one step closer to holding the trademark "Tebowing" for use on things as widespread as clothing, pencil sharpeners and holiday ornaments.

Tebow has long been very public about his Christian faith. In college, he sported Bible verses on his eye black, which the NCAA went on to ban after his graduation.  Tebow invoked God frequently at news conferences and wrote at length about his faith and growing up the son of evangelical missionaries the Philippines in an autobiography.

"Tebowing" became part of the American lexicon when Tebow, then a second year player for the Denver Broncos, was photographed bowing in prayer in the end zone on one knee, helmeted head bowed a top a clenched fist.  It quickly became an Internet meme.

One of the first to start the meme was Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan, living in New York.  He started a website, www.tebowing.com, defining Tebow as a verb: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.”  He posted a photo of himself "Tebowing."

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Tebow approved of the growing phenomenon at the time writing, “Love it,” on his Twitter account.

A paper trail of documents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office shows that soon after the meme caught fire last year, Kleinstein filed to trademark "Tebowing" and began to sell apparel with the phrase on it.

XV Enterprises, a marketing and consulting firm, protested Kleinstein's application through California attorney Anthony M. Keats in October.  Trademark records show Tebow is the sole shareholder of XV Enterprises, which is thought to represent the Roman numerals for his longtime football jersey number, 15.

In a letter of protest, Keats wrote to the Trademark office that consumers would incorrectly think the goods were connected to Tebow or his charity the Tim Tebow Foundation.

"Inevitably, in today's commercial arena of sports marketing, consumers will be led to believe that at a minimum, Tim Tebow or the Tim Tebow Foundation has approved of all of the third-party applicant's goods in the context of licensing; or, what is even more damaging, that Tim Tebow is actually connected with or associated with the goods of the cited applicants when he is not," Keats wrote.

On February 22, the trademark office issued a refusal of registration to Kleinstein's application, saying the material he hoped to trademark, "includes matter which falsely suggests a connection with Tim Tebow. Accordingly, registration is refused under Trademark Act Section 2(a)."

After Kleinstein's Tebowing trademark attempt was rejected, Tebow's team of advisers appear to have stepped in to claim the trademark.

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An August 21  Trademark Application shows a letter signed by Tebow giving his consent to the "use and registration" by XV Enterprises LLC "of my nickname TEBOWING as a trademark and/or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office."  The filing also shows that  Tim Tebow is the sole shareholder of XV Enterprises LLC.

On October 9, the trademark, now showing XV Enterprises LLC as the owner, was published for opposition.  That means anyone who wants to oppose the registration has 30 days to do so.  If no one does, or the opposition is deemed by trademark office to be unsubstantiated, then Tim Tebow will officially own Tebowing.

Newsday, which was among the first to report on the issue, quoted Tebow as saying, "It got hyped up as Tebowing, so [the trademark] was more to just control how it's used, make sure it's used in the right way."

Explain it to me: John 3:16

U.S. Patent and Trademark office records show in the past year a number of applications for Tebow-related trademarks have come up and been smacked down.

In July, records show, the trademark office refused an application by Michael Dachs of Merrick, New York, who sought a trademark for the name and logo "Lord and Tebow" for T-shirts and apparel that mimicked the logo of the department store Lord and Taylor.

The trademark office refused that claim because the logo was "virtually identical" to the Lord & Taylor logo.  They also said in their rejection that consumers could "falsely suggest a connection with Tim Tebow ... Tim Tebow is so famous that consumers would presume a connection."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Celebrity • Sports

soundoff (507 Responses)
  1. Just call me Lucifer

    Tebowing makes baby jesus cry.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  2. End Religion

    It's Obama's fault.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  3. mkilmon

    People, people! Please stop making uneducated remarks. In no way shape or form is Tebow claiming he owns the right to kneel, pray or do anything like that. What he is doing is protecting his good name and also preventing the leaches of world from benefitting from his name. To say that someone cannot create a product, with the world "tebowing" on it and sell it to others who would naturally assume it's related to the real Tebow is not only a good thing, but the morally right thing to do. Get off your horses and pay attention to what was reported, not what you "wanted" to hear.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm wondering if you can walk me through your thought process for Trademarking being "morally right?"

      October 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • ikenelson

      I'd say it's moral because he is protecting the product of his labor from being stolen by others. Tebow worked for tens of thousands of hours during his lifetime to become a successful professional football player with a well known name. The image of him in prayer on the field became an icon in the sports world. Now someone who has no connection to him wants to make money from Tebow's labor, using Tebow's name and image. Do you take measures to prevent others from stealing what you have worked for? You probably do. That's the morality of trademarking.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • derp

      "to become a successful professional football player"

      Except that he is not a successful professional football player. Last season, he was statistically the worst QB in the NFL. As a "professional" football player he was won a handful of games in one plus season.

      If it were not for his gross flaunting of his faith, he would be no more well known than Tarvaris Jackson (who has won more games and is a statistically better QB).

      Tebow is not protecting anything more than his ability to glom off of his religion. He knows full well that it is the only reason anyone cares about what he does.

      So does CNN.

      The only reason there is a story on THE BELIEF BLOG about a less than average backup QB, is because he shoves his religion in everyones faces constantly.

      He can't play QB worth a lick. He sucks. The only reason anyone cares about him is because he is a flaming jesustard.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • End Religion

      @ike: "I'd say it's moral because he is protecting the product of his labor from being stolen by others."

      To seriously discuss we'd need to know your definition of morality since it's different for everyone. If one's concept of morality is biblically based, protecting one's material possessions is the opposite of jesus's apparent teachings. It is argued he preached that one should give away everything they own, let alone protect it, and that accumulation of material wealth is indeed morally wrong.

      ***
      "Do you take measures to prevent others from stealing what you have worked for? You probably do. That's the morality of trademarking."

      This is the heart of my original question, and why I asked. Yes, I do take steps to protect my personal possessions. It has absolutely nothing to do with "morals". Smart or not, within the context of our society, that's one thing. Morally good versus bad is another.

      My objection is not that Tebow trademarked something. While he makes me sick to my stomach it is a smart business move to trademark one's image in today's society. Whether it is "moral" or not is another matter.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • mendrys

      Fundamentalist religions that purport to be the sole carrier of God's word is certainly not healthy either.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian....

      October 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!__

      October 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      There is one God and one way to God . Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God bless

      October 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • derp

      I prayed that you would stop posting this stupid garbage.

      It didn't change anything.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • OgLikeRock

      Rock say "prayer DOES change things" cuz it makes TomTOm, CollegeAdmissionsGuru, mamakindless, and other great posters come on to point out that the only thing prayer changes is that people who pray instead of getting medical help for traumas and diseases DIE. So yes, prayer changes those living people into dead people, and it changes the comments section into the funny pages. Rock say thanks for the fun! Og like rock, rock smarter than superst itious people...

      October 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  5. Mike D

    How about crying like a little girl when you lose to Alabama? Tebow needs to trademark that one too.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • derp

      He should also trademark the incomplete pass while he's at it.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • YoozYerBrain

      @ derp

      hahaha yes!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  6. mendrys

    I wish people would really read the article instead of coming to snap conclusions against Tebow. The main purpose was to stop the people who were trying to use the phrase "Tebowing" on their products for commercial gain. Others attempted to trademark the phrase and were rejected because, as the patent office correctly pionted out, it would falsely give the impression that Tim Tebow had something to do with it. The ire on this blog should really be directed to Jared Kleinstein and the like for attempting to commercialize "Tebowing".

    October 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      Wait a second here, hotshot. As to Christians there isn't much more sacred than their precious thought that Jesus suffered an elongated and excruciatingly cruel, bloody, sweaty, dehydrated death on a cross ostensibly for them. Yet they sell his "corpse on a stick" jesus cross for a dime a dozen as necklaces, jewelry, T-shirts, hats, underwear and plastic drink containers. Hell, they probably even sell Jeebus frisbees. How can you possibly say that commercializing a football player's silly bended-knee prayer should draw ire to the dude who thought of capitalizing on it first?

      October 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  7. stephen Boley

    Tebow has a bad case of Pride...no one has the right to trade mark a prayer stance. this just shows what kind of "Christian" he really is.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Paul

      The 2×4 in your eye is smaller than my 2×6...

      October 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      No true scotsman would ever sink so low!

      October 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • ikenelson

      He's not trademarking the prayer position. He's trademarking his name. You can sell a picture of someone praying, you just can't call ilt "Tebowing."

      October 23, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  8. lathebiosas

    Today's Christian, all about profit. It would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle that for Tebow to enter the gates of heaven.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • mendrys

      You should actually read the story. The main purpose was to stop the people who were trying to use the phrase "Tebowing" on their products for commercial gain. Others attempted to trademark the phrase and were rejected because, as the patent office correctly pionted out, it would falsely give the impression that Tim Tebow had something to do with it. The ire on this website should really be directed to Jared Kleinstein and the like for attempting to commercialize "Tebowing".

      October 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      lathebiosas

      Today's Christian, all about profit. It would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle that for Tebow to enter the gates of heaven.

      Lemme correct that bibble quote for you-It would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle that for Tebow to run a west-coast offense. Or a pro-set offense. Or an offense that relies on passing, or brains, or creativity, or anything else about professional football NOT having to do with being a fullback/punt protector. LOSER!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • derp

      "Lemme correct that bibble quote for you-It would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle that for Tebow to run a west-coast offense. Or a pro-set offense. Or an offense that relies on passing, or brains, or creativity, or anything else about professional football NOT having to do with being a fullback/punt protector. LOSER!"

      Bwahahahahahaha!

      I can't think of a better match, that useless no talent jesustard Teblow, and that overrated blowhard Rex Ryan. They are like peanut butter and jelly.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Matt

    Have found a way the Jets could utilise Tebow!! If they are every up and need to burn time in the dying minutes of a game...they could get Tebow to take a qtr back kneel...I've heard he is good at this.!!

    I also predict he would have a 100% completion of it too! Which means all the crazy evangelicals would surely say – "look God is helping Tebow!"

    October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  10. GBAZ

    Gotta love this!: "Quarterback moves to trademark 'Tebowing."

    And didn't we know all along that this kneeling in public places was an act of Pharisiacal heights? Just another way to bring attention to a player who just had to be known for something. Jesus spoke against this type of behavior.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      Jesus also spoke against blogging and referred to tighty-whities as "false undies" and yet here you are sinning.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  11. Rationalintn

    Awww, look at Tim. Bowing to his one true god the Almighty $.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  12. ROMNEY2012

    Coming soon:

    The iTebow

    Half the features of a normal QB, but triple the price!

    Kinda like Obama, the iPresident.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • OgLikeRock

      @ ROMENY2012

      Rock say he can sum up your position for you. Rock say "this guy want us go back to recession-party, endless war-party, destroy US economy-party. This guy un American." Og like rock, rock want USA strong, not like repubs who only want ruin US like 8 years of W did...rock smart, you dumb.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  13. Anchorite

    Good, I hope he trademarks it and sues anyone who does it. Then we can stop hearing about people doing it.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  14. matt

    I dont think it is Tebows trademark to pray kneeling down on asports field it would be very hard to establish that in any court. If he wants to use the NFL to highlight his faith in Jesus Christ and encourage others thats ok but then surely he has to acknowledge who he is praying to and making it so public isnt his right to deny others from doing so also, isnt it what he wants kids all over America doing,praying in sport Tim has been poorly informed and advised by christian mentors around him or his management team doesnt get the reality of what he is now doing is harming the brand by Gods grace of the very people that pray for his game and profile to grow in this marketplace. The people who admire him most which is christians all over America would be saddened by this story. Not agood look Tim if you are behind this move it hasnt got the body of Christ in USA's support REPENT

    October 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  15. JTH

    It's not Tebowing, it's kneeling. Jesus paid for our right to use it a long time ago. Why should Tebow own it now? And it should be done in the privacy of your room, not in the middle of a football field for all to see. All he does is toot his own horn.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Rationalintn

      Oh come on, he is just proving that the one true motivation of the "Look at me" Christian sect is $$$$. They are all the same, self-righteous, holier-than-thou showmen, who have found that the cross is a profitable marketing tool. Amen

      October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  16. Mike D

    Oh for Pete's sake. Tebow really needs to get over himself. Maybe if he was a good quarterback this would be worth something.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  17. jdoe

    It won't be long before people are arrested and thrown in jail for tebowing without first asking for permission or paying a license fee.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  18. Reasonably

    Thou shalt not worship false idols before me. Blah blah blah.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. Reasonably

    Profit in the name of your god! Woot!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  20. Reasonably

    Did someone also trademark tea bagging?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rationalintn

      Nope, that one is all yours!! :-)

      October 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYs92_QQoJo&w=640&h=390]

      October 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.