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. Howard

    I believe this trade mark should have already gone to Auguste Rodin, http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=the+thinker&qpvt=the+thinker&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=BCF3FD2E0869A76A03C0DD3C6C4856360DB499C6

    before even thinking of awarding it to this idiot.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  2. Aja

    Trademarking a name for praying so he can MAKE MONEY FROM IT?! Shame on you Tebow. SHAME ON YOU.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  3. glorydays

    Using God to make money is pretty sick.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  4. Jesus hates option QBs

    Jesus doesn't wnat Tebow to make a slimy buck off his prayer pose. Jesus wants Tebow to learn how to throw the football.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

      I agree. It amazes me how these evangelicals think that God gives a rip about a football game, yet has no qualms ignoring all the real suffering in this world.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  5. angelmedic436

    He's not trademarking prayer, he's trademarking his name, so that his good works and positive example aren't associated with things he does not stand by. How would you like if someone linked your name with things you don't support – and as a result, everyone thought you supported them? He's protecting his image. He's ministering through his means – a great example of what a Christian should do.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • glorydays

      Indeed, using religion to make a buck is VERY Christian.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Howard

      It sure keeps the revival tent companies in business.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Howard

      Isn't it against the law to minister to your means in public?

      October 25, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  6. Gary in Tampa

    Why the shock about Tebow wanting to make money off his religion? That's all any church or religion does...why would tbow be any different?

    October 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  7. dave

    Let us give Mr. Tebow a break. Read the article. A guy named Kleinstein (Jewish enough?) tried to Trademark Tebowing under a corporate name XV something. 15 happens to be Tebows number. This guy Kleinstein was trying to make money off Tebowing. Maybe the real Mr. Tebow is seeking the trademark just to stop Kleinstein from using his name.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Jesus hates option QBs

      Tebow Posing for publicity and spreading "the word" to people who don't ask for it and don't want to hear it -CHRISTIAN ENOUGH??

      October 25, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  8. dave

    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    Matthew 6:6 - Mr Tebow: this is how a Christian prays

    October 25, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • michael

      Unfortunately, some believe that sharing your faith means making a public spectacle of it despite what the Bible tells us.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  9. The Obvious

    He would do better to focus on his playing......

    October 25, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  10. squoose

    How very Christian of him. After all, we all know how little money NFL players make. I mean, he just HAS to trademark prayer to make ends meet.

    October 25, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • dave

      Let us give Mr. Tebow a break. Read the article. A guy named Kleinstein (Jewish enough?) tried to Trademark Tebowing under a corporate name XV something. 15 happens to be Tebows number. This guy Kleinstein was trying to make money off Tebowing. Maybe the real Mr. Tebow is seeking the trademark just to stop Kleinstein from using his name.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  11. larryb

    I was in demolay (jr masons) in the 1960's and that was the way we prayed...I am sure they still do it that way so how can he trademark it??? he didn't "invent" this

    October 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  12. ProperVillain

    He's not selling out, he's cashing in.....

    Yeah, whatever.....

    October 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  13. Les

    People using religion to make money?
    Wow, shocking.

    October 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

      say it aint so...

      October 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  14. rajb

    Do you any other words other than Prayer, Changes and Things !!!

    October 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  15. Bret

    I can't think of any current self-absorbed celebrity more annoying and obnoxious than Tim Tebow. HIs phony and superficial piety is so transparent and offensive and it is just a matter of time before God strikes him down.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Erik

      Youc an not be series, he is a very humble man and his actions seem to be very sincere, I don't know what Tebow you have been watching. You must be an athiest who wanst to tare the man down because he beleives in God, typical of your kind.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • derp

      Erik was obviously an English major.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • DJ

      Dont hate the man for trying to set a good example and do better. If you know better than him, do it right and walk the path so that we all can follow your example. Till then, your comment says more about you than him. I bet if you ran across Tebow on the street he would have a negative thing to say to or about you.

      October 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  16. bob

    Tebowing men chasing balls - same thing the priests do

    October 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  17. lunchbreaker

    Well, he's smart to look into alternative forms of revenue, but I'm pretty sure if you could copyright prayer and charge for it's use, the Catholic church would have done that already.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Are you thinking of indulgences? These are still sold, but not by catholics. Tune into most mega- or not-so-mega church broadcasts and here's what you'll discover: "God will richly bless you if you send our ministry a check." Some Protestants obviously knew a good thing when they saw it.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  18. YoozYerBrain

    Here in Denver those of us not into christiardity and it's weirdness have known that tebow was all about his brand from the beginning. The only guy who gets to start without "earning" the position cuz of his freaky loud fans. But who lets tebow fans down the most? tebow himself of course. If he cared he'd learn to pass and be a real quarterback, but he wants the team to revolve around him, not be just a part of it. And he abuses children in his orphanage by shoving that jeesus crap down their throats as though it were truth! He's a typical christard hypocrite, nothing new here. If he wasn't he'd have gone to J-ville and be a starter instead of NY the biggest media town. Any questions? The dudes a 'tard and Manning earned his $18m just by showing up and ushering this fake out the door. Mission accomplished and we get to actually watch REAL football instead of the fantasy crap this guy embodies. Get over it, he's campaigning for future political office and that's it. That's all it's ever been, about the tebow brand. Ha ha jets, we love watching your circus. LOSERS!

    October 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Stud

      Perfect statement

      October 25, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  19. MCR

    I don't follow football, but had given the guy the benefit of the doubt that he was sincere. Wow...definitely just another con artist looking to make a buck on religion.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • sam stone

      that's the whole point of religion

      October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • MCR

      Sam, All cyltures have developed religions, which serve a wide variety of social and psychological purposes. Just because somethinghas served a purpose doesn't mean it continues to do so ( we evolve after all) but to claim religion is only about money is not only unfair, but in gross ignorance of the cultural and historical realities. And no, I'm not one bit religious, but it's just not that simple.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. my2cents

    Sounds like what jesus would do to me.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:03 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.