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
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(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. 8 x 10 Color Glossy Photographs with Circles and Arrows and Paragraphs on the Back of Each One Explaining What Each One Is

    It does not matter WHY he is doing it. It is just. plain. stupid.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I wanted to trademark meatball sandwiches, but I don't have no damn money.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  2. Patent it ALL!

    Stop using the name of GOD and making the sign of the cross....I have just patent it. Is that all it takes to end the christians? Next I will patent the using the word allah and the movement to bow towards mecca! this is easy!

    October 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm |


    October 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Best1


      October 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  4. The Complainer

    This is ridiculous. Other players have bowed in prayer. This is like big pharma trying to patent individual genes, even though they the product of nature and not human invention.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  5. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    This is just silly.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I agree, but it's no more ridiculous than any of the other crap Christians do here and elsewhere.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Tina

      Tom, you sound very angry and bitter. Did a Christian dump you?

      October 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Teeny Brain. I never bothered with thumpers like you.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Tina

      Tom, why do atheists insist Christians have less brain power than you? After all, we learn the man made sciences and Jesus' truth. Not only do we learn them, we understand what we've learned. And you? You complain about things you don't understand, then blame it on us.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, do tell, Teeny. What is it you imagine atheists "don't understand"?

      October 21, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Perhaps you are referring to evolution, Teeny. What do you think atheists "don't understand" about that? Or is it just Tebow's silly genuflecting to which you are referring. Can you explain what it is atheists "don't understand" about that?

      Go right ahead and enlighten all of us as to what you think anyone "doesn't understand", honey-pot. I can hardly wait.

      Oops. My bad. I CAN, actually, wait. In fact, I don't need to know what you have to spew at all! I can live a very full and productive life without reading a single word from you, darling! You're irrelevant, not only to me, but to just about everyone else! How about that! Nobody needs to hear from you at all to live a full life!

      What a relief it is to realize that I don't need to hear even one piece of crap from you!

      October 21, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  6. PigBodine

    If he gets away with this I will trademark cursing god. Consider this posting my letter of intent and part of my claim.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tina

      Get a job.

      October 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  7. Lee-Anne

    I think too many people are thinking he is doing it to make money. In fact he is going the other way. He is copyrighting it so people don't make a profit over his praying to God. He takes his faith seriously and doesn't want people to profit off of it for something nefarious.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  8. Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)®

    Thanks for giving idea.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  9. us_1776

    Would somebody please make this guy a tailback or a wide-receiver so he can have a successful NFL career?


    October 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  10. tony

    I think he is bowing to the god Mammon

    October 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • The Lamb That Laid Down On Broadway

      Nah, it's either the FSM or Godzilla.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  11. The Lamb That Laid Down On Broadway

    What an arrogant pr1ck. Trying to profit from a pose.

    October 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • ed

      no. he is trying to keep anyone from profiting from his name and prayer. seems fair to me.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • jon

      I agree.Stop all this foolishness.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  12. tony

    Bowing by men world-wide now subject to tebow approval.

    October 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  13. tony

    pope files for Genuflect tm

    October 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • tony

      Genuflect sues Tebow for siailarity to genuflect with 2000 years prior use.

      October 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • us_1776


      October 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Bow your head with great respect and genuflect, genuflect, genuflect ..

      Do whatever steps you want if, you have cleared them with the Pontiff ...


      In this live version Tom Lehrer actually muffs the "Do whatever steps" line.

      October 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  14. OrangeCrushPlease

    Tebow is sooo gay. lol

    October 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • PigBodine

      Apparently, he loves to go down on his knees.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  15. Robert Warner

    And he wonders why people- except for bible thumpers- don't like him.

    October 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  16. Bill Duke

    Better than "musliming" which means you have to blow someone up.

    October 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Jim McTeigue

      Or Billdukeing, which means to display on the internet your ignorance of other religions.

      October 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  17. Oldwhiteman

    Way to cash in on God!

    October 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  18. JJ

    Those whacky Christians.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  19. SMH

    Trademark prayer?

    October 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  20. *frank*

    A Christian attention-whore?
    I've never heard of such a thing!

    October 20, 2012 at 5:29 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.