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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. Nate

    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret

    October 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Kevin

      You nailed it Nate :)

      October 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  2. eigenklarg

    Tim is smart enough to knows that as an extremely poor passer his football earnings are limited, so he is trying to set himself to live off the residuals for "Tebowing."

    October 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  3. Joel

    This guy, who everyone had so much respect for (including myself), is now nothing more than an amoeba to me. To 'copywrite' a prayer pose, now that's just wrong. Or any pose for that matter. Why would you do this? Do you not make enough money playing with a football? You should be sharing money, not seeking more in a frivolous lawsuit. Why don't you just quit football, and get a job with Crapple, they can teach you how to really make money off frivolous patent lawsuits, since they can no longer innovate. You'd fit right in over there!!! Go Tebow Go!! Go to Crapple Tebow, Go, Go!!

    October 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • C.H.

      First of all, it's not a copywrite, it's a trademark. Second of all, he's trademarking the NAME, not the pose. I wouldn't want someone else profiting from my name.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  4. RunForTheHills

    You can't trademark something that has already become generic and widely used. The USPTO will dismiss the application almost instantly.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • tomnikoly

      I certainly hope you're right as this is beyond pathetic. About the only thing I ever got out of this was Jimmy Fallon's spoof called "T-Bowie." Now THAT was funny!

      October 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  5. RayJacksonMS

    Too funny. All you bible thumpers were promoting this idiot and now he's not going to let you pray because he thinks he invented it.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Mark9988

      Good one. But later, if you actually read the article (its that thing above your opinion with all the words in it), you'll know what it really means...

      October 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  6. Dave

    More "shoving God down our throats" IMHO TIm can do whatever he wants in terms of his faith as long as he does it PRIVATELY. Suppose some other quarterback was a devout Muslim and he insisted in some sort of "muslim" specific demonstration of faith every time he scored? The Christian Religious Right in this country would likely have a collective stroke. Of course it is alright for THEIR faith to be represented by Tebow. Don't people like Tebow understand that there are actually folks of other faiths that don't necessarily appreciate his antics?????

    October 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Nancy

      why does he have to hide is religion and demonstrate it only in private – ditto all religions – so what if a muslim wants to shout or bow as well ???

      October 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • John

      I totally agree with Dave. I hear from Christians all the time that "Christianity is not a relgion, it's a personal relationship!" To which I say, great! Practice what you preach Christians – if your belief is personal, then keep it to yourself -personal ie PRIVATE!

      October 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  7. Nitrogen

    This is pathetic. Religion, your hypocrisy is showing.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  8. Avalon

    Excuse me, but how do you patent a prayer stance? Many people take a knee to pray – sometimes I use my hand to cover my eyes, sometimes I put my palm to my forehead. However, if I should decide I want to put my fist to my forehead, I shouldn't have to worry that if someone were to take a picture of me in that stance – that I'm violating someone's copyright.

    I had been a Tebow supporter up to now. I admired that way that he didn’t let his position as a QB at a big time football school like Florida or in the NFL corrupt his beliefs.

    But now it makes me wonder about someone's true intention when they start talking about making money off of religion like some tele- evangelist.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • fekt

      it's a copyright on the name, not a copyright on the praying. however it is odd, as a proffessed christian, tebow would have any part of this. it's clearly putting himself before god when he uses his name to describe prayer. that's one of the big ten he's breaking there.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • T Michael

      Don't forget to pay your royalties for using the term. :)

      October 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  9. blahblahblah

    I have no idea what I just read.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Fed Up With This Subject Because It's Been On Here WAY Too Much!

      You have no idea what you just read because your I.Q. is lower than the belly of a rattlesnake.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  10. AGeek

    What a complete tool. This guy is a knob of the highest order. Trademarking a public gesture of prayer?

    October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • slip n' slide

      That's OK, I never bow to invisible beings.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  11. Thinkergal

    WHO CARES?!

    October 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  12. Jeremy

    Honestly, I'm not a fan of Tebow, but I completely agree with the decision not to allow someone besides Tebow to have that trademark. It's ridiculous for someone else to have sole rights to something that could be perceived as being so closely related to his foundation and charitable work.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Mitzy

    Such a silly man. As Moses and Jesus both found out, the Lord will forsake anyone whose faith turns to hubris.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • John

      What does God say about people passing his judgement on to other people?

      October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  14. Phil McCracken

    Tebow stinks. He better make all the money he can now because he doesn't have a future in the NFL.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • slip n' slide

      What does he do?

      October 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  15. lestermorris

    thought he did that out of his love and devotion for Christ. It seems that he was doing it for himself then. wow.

    Matthew 6:1-34 ESV / 60 helpful votes
    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. ...

    October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • John

      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

      October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • slip n' slide

      Yeah, and besides that you'll get the seven day itch.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • gunnard larson

      John, you can't post those particular bible verses, they might expose the lie that christianity is a peaceful religion of love and goodness.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  16. vince

    There is a passage in the gospels where Jesus very specifically says to NOT to pray in public and instead to pray in 'secret' so that prayer personal and sincere (and not because millions of people are watching you) - somehow, yet again, another Evangelical has missed the mark.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • BldrRepublican

      You need to read that passage in it's entirety.

      NOWHERE does is say to NOT pray in public. That passage means that Christians are NOT to "flaunt" their faith in an effort to gain popularity or fame. In other words, pray in public, but do so genuinely, NOT as a show to impress others. Tim Tebow is genuinely praying. He is NOT doing it in an attempt to win fame, but a genuine display of faithfulness.

      Before you castigate others, make sure you know what you're talking about.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Phil McCracken

      He's a fraud. Just like most religious figures in the world .... he's in it for the $$$ and publicity and retarded sister banging evangelicals eat it up ....

      October 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      A humble man would give his thanks quietly instead of knowingly drawing attention to himself by striking a pose in front of thousands people in the stands, and potentially millions in a TV audience. This is no different than the "Icky Shuffle" or any other self-aggrandizing on-field display.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Hey republican, you don't know that he is genuine anymore than we know he is NOT being genuine. So there is NO way you know what you're talking about either. Unless you are a mind-reader and have some intimate connection with Tebow's thoughts.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • GianCarlo

      You can't be serious, BldrRepublican? Did you read this article? He is trademarking Tebowing. He is a hypocrite just like all the other Republican "christians" looking for fame and money. That is what it's all about: Greed and Money. I bet Jesus is in heaven disgusted. He Tebows in public in front of millions for the fame and glory to himself. Give me a break.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Dave

      Well said "Another Evangelical has missed the mark"!! I have no issues with his faith or anyone else's. He can believe what ever he wants or not believe whatever he wants. My patience with him (and ALL EVANGELICALS) stops when they are constantly in my face with their ideas of how it should be and what is the RIGHT faith!

      October 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  17. jasbo

    I was so glad to get Tebow out of Denver and not have his religious nonsense pushed in my face every time the news came on here in Denver.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • BldrRepublican

      Ya, because people like you worship the gang-banging amoral lawbreakers that permeate the rest of professional sports.

      I'm sure you're convinced they make such wonderful role models.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Again republican seems to immediately forget his advice to others about not castigating people. I'm sure you consider yourself a devout Christian?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @BldrRepublican

      That was quite an as.sumption you just made there. Jasbo said nothing about other athletes. He spoke of the news.

      Also quite a rude accusation against all athletes who are not Tim Tebow. There are some very decent athletes out there, who give their time and money to the community without having to make ostentatious public displays of there personal "piety."

      October 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Jackson

      Thanks Bldr, for once again proving the abject blithering hypocrisy of the religious right. Anyone who doesn't agree with their message and their tactics deserves automatic attacking, right? That's what you just showed, isn't it?

      Funny, how religious fundamentalists LOOOOOVE to go around telling people "keep your beliefs in your home" and "don't flaunt your lifestyle in public", but then they go around forcing their religion on everyone else, shoving it down their throat, being in your face, judgmental, etc.

      And you wonder why more and more people move away from the church. It's because of the pathetic display of people like you.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • SusieDenver

      I am glad he is out of Denver as well. He was a distraction at best. And, there are players on the Broncos who are just as religious, if not more so, and they aren't praying on the field because they are at WORK! They recognize they are paid to play and be in the game, not praying in the endzone or sidelines.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • mercfan

      Jasbo – the ironic thing about all this is that I remember any time he Tebowed in Denver CBS would show it like it was part of the play. I live in the NY Metro area and have watched all the Jets games (my wife is the Jets fan – I'm a Giants fan) and they have yet to show him Tebowing on air this season. Which is the way it should be. If he wants to say a pray on the sidelines afterward, it should be a private moment instead of sensationalizing it.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • mercfan

      @jasbo – it was the network that was always showing him Teabowing. It seems like they would show it more as his popularity increased. You can't blame him for that. How is that any different when a baseball player hits a home run and points up to the sky when he gets to home plate?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • curious

      BldrRepublican, just out of curiosity, what does bldr stand for?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  18. What!!?

    What would Jesus do?

    October 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      Well, Jesus won't be able to take a knee and pray – at least not without paying Tebow! LOL!

      October 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • slip n' slide

      Franchise it!

      October 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  19. Mike Mo

    How very Christian of him. Making money off of his prayer pose, just like God would want....

    October 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  20. saneCanadian

    Has anyone got the rights to 'Teabagging"? The silhouette would look good on so many products. Just a head facing up and descending balls.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:34 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.