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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. And...

    Does anyone still do this? Especially given his recent on-filed performances?

    October 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  2. Juan

    This is one of the most troubling things I read lately. So now any athlete who attempts to pray at any sporting in the US is in violation of this patent. First people have been doing this stance/posture for over a thousand years. (2) The fact that this dillusional idiot thinks he created something new is extremely laughable and ironic. Instead of spreading the Word, all he has done is to limit it and move more people away from it because of the 7 deadly sin laced nature of his legal action. Complete moron!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  3. scatheist

    He has his shirt on? Darn missed a chance at some more god based endorsement cash.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  4. saneCanadian

    I thought 'Tebowing' was staying in the closet for religious reasons.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • saneCanadian

      As in "I'm out to my friends but still Tebowing at work"

      October 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  5. jon

    Tebowing didn't save Tim Tebow from a butt kicking by the Patriots last year that ultimately caused him to lose his job with the Broncos. Now he is just second hand back up for the Jets.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Ting

      Therefore he is looking for other ways to make money.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  6. Donna in Utah

    Sounds like this good Christian is looking for a reason to sue somebody! That vindictive, jealous God that the Bible talks about must be so proud!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Brooke

      Chri$tianity at it's finest.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  7. keyser

    I thought religious people weren't interested in money. After all this is just a practice run for the hereafter right?

    October 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  8. Tebow Not Being So Christian

    It will be an absolute crime if Tebow is allowed to steal someone else's creativity and trademark. Tebow wasn't the one who came up with the phrase "Tebowing" and just because his name is in it doesn't mean it belongs to him.

    Very Christian of him, trying to steal something someone else came up with.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  9. pelegrim

    How incredibly stupid.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  10. lindaluttrell

    Trademark the lexicon "Tebowing" possibly. But the image...old hat...been done to death.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  11. sfgiants1952

    He's just copying Rodin's "The Thinker". Come up with something original. People have striking that pose for hundreds of
    years, but no one has ever been greedy enough to trademark it! So sad.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Tebow Not Being So Christian

      It will be an absolute crime if Tebow is allowed to steal someone else's creativity and trademark. Tebow wasn't the one who came up with the phrase "Tebowing" and just because his name is in it doesn't mean it belongs to him.

      Very Christian of him, trying to steal something someone else came up with.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • scatheist

      He's definitely not a thinker.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. wangfeihong

    F*****G god squad hipocrites. DISGUSTING!

    October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  13. Stick to issues

    Tlc: if he were a liberal it would be fine? He's probably done more for charity than any liberal you could ever find. Liberals are the first to try and be generous with someone else' money but the last to give their own. if you need an example of that take a look at what Biden and Obama gave to charity last year. Liberal motto: do as I say not as I do. Also, if you took the time to read the article he is trademarking it so that it is not misused probably by some greedy liberal.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • pelegrim

      Man, you're going to explode when Obama wins again.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Jeremy

      Fortunately most of the conservatives I know aren't like you. They don't make sweeping generalizations about "liberals" while feeling self-righteous and demanding that others not be self-righteous... Just don't reproduce and you will do more for this world than your evangelizing ever could.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  14. TLC

    RIght in line with the rest of the conservative base........GREED GREED and MORE GREED...............But doesn't it say in the Bible that your supposed to HELP one another????????????

    October 21, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  15. Dave

    The creator of the term is the person who deserves the lion's share of profit. Jared Kleinstein has been robbed by the US PTO...which is nothing new.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  16. Qmander

    It's disgusting what trademark and patent law have become. Corporate greed is sickening. Sole stock holder....pathetic. I don't respect it, nor any office that would seek to grant legitimacy to it, and I'm pretty sure there are a lot of others out there that feel the exact same way.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  17. Mike - WA

    God the "profit". Right it line with the modern dogma of the evangical "fake" chrisitian movement. But hardly in line with the true teachings of Jesus.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  18. reetjann

    Check out google images for search terms: "George Washington tebowing" Paintings are numerous and how can he copyright something that is already in the public domain?

    October 21, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • keyser

      Because he's setting up George Washington's heirs for a copyright infringement suit.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  19. Mike A

    No problem, he's a nice guy – anyone who wants to pray just has to pay him a license fee. Jesus is probably asking himself right now: "Why didn't I trademark that cross?"

    October 21, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  20. Sbul

    Real Christian like, eh? If someone bows their head and prays (to whomever as who knows who the person is praying to, perhaps the gods of money, eh?) then they are infringing on his "Trademark" like he is the only one who has ever went to one knee and bowed their head. A real Christian he is, not. Just another spoiled sports star who makes more money then he deserves and sinning with the sin of greed – wanting more.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:24 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.