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. Major Tom

    When you suck as an athlete and can't play for s**t, you resort to cheap, stupid gimmicks. Great athletes don't do crap like this. They don't have to.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      To be fair, there are worse QBs than Tebow.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • derp

      "To be fair, there are worse QBs than Tebow"


      Last year he had the lowest completion %, the worst int/td ratio and had the second lowest total QB rating.

      He sucks.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  2. rick

    "Destroy what you don't like"

    Sort of like christians claiming god is behind natural disasters because of man's immorality?

    October 21, 2012 at 4:43 am |
  3. Tebow Cashes In On InvisoSkyBuddy Jesus!

    Tebowing pencil sharpeners?

    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 am |
  4. Trademark?

    I didn't know you could trademark bullshit.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  5. Sandra

    So, he's going to trademark dropping to his knees and groveling to an imaginary being? Fine by me

    October 21, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  6. tallulah13

    Huh. I kind of forgot that this guy existed.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  7. Michael

    How very "Christian" of him, to make such a sanctimonious display of prayer, and then to use said showy prayer to make a profit. Yeah, this guy's really in line with the philosophy of Jesus.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Jordan

      Maybe not the philosophy, but he is VERY much in line with the modern practice of Christianity!

      October 21, 2012 at 4:38 am |
  8. Hugenot

    Let him pray, it's a free country. Isn't it? Maybe not...

    October 21, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Michael

      As far as I know, nobody's claiming that he doesn't have the right to do this. They are, however, calling him out on his hypocrisy. That's the thing about freedom of speech... it gives people the right to criticize. Get over it.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  9. johnnyph12

    I think you are all wrong... I think he is trademarking it so that no one else will...and once he gets the trademark he will just sit on it and do nothing with it in the end.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  10. Ugh!

    Wait, I thought he was Teblowing himself.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  11. Geoff

    I'm going to copyright the word "wager." I prohibit the use of the word by Vegas and other bettors without my written consent. I'm also going to copyright the word "cat." And "penguin."

    October 21, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Hugo

      Have fun...

      October 21, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  12. OrangeCrushPlease

    Teebow is soo ghey.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  13. ELH

    Hey, Timmy, if you could quarterback as well as you pray, the Broncos would have been the Super Bowl champs. Howsoever, you can't so they weren't and neither will the Jets make the playoffs.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      I would argue his QBing if far more effective than his praying.....but that still isn't saying much.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  14. John14

    What nonsense. So much attention for such a mediocre player. Kind of the Sara Palin phenomenon–lots of press thanks to the enthusiasm of the evangelicals, but eventually it fades into nothing for lack of substance.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • natrldiver

      So explain Billy Grahm. The man is an evangelical icon for over 60 years. He prayed everywhere and is by far one of the most respected of modern day ministers. A short lived fad? I think not. It takes a real man or woman to show their faith publically in the face of adversity and naysayers. Keep on praying Tim, God has given you a gift that enables you to play where many could only wish they did. Keep your faith and pray anywhere you like.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • rick

      natdriver: a trained football player playing in the nfl does not show god's gift. pick a guy off the street and have him do the same thing as well then you might have a point

      October 21, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  15. albie

    Hey Tebow, you do realize you are not too bright, right?
    Religious fervor and intelligence are inversely related.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  16. aj

    I dont want to watch church when I'm trying to watch the game please. Thanks.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  17. Karl Denton

    He is a greedy religious nut bag!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  18. Rufus T. Firefly

    Dear Heavenly Father (TM),
    Please bless Tebowing Unlimited, LLC with financial gain and increased notoriety for your Humble Servant (c) Tim Tebow,
    In Jesus (TM) name we pray,
    Amen (c)

    October 21, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • albie


      October 21, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Timothy Ladwig

      best comment I've seen today.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • MoneyGrubbingJackholes

      If there was a Like button, I would so click it...

      October 21, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  19. Michael McCollum

    He's got 20 Million Dollars in His Heavenly Bank Account!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  20. Blessed are the Cheese makers

    Tebow must have missed reading Matthew 6: 5-6.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Tina

      He is praying silently. He's not forcing a camera crew to focus on what he's doing.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      "And when thou prayest thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corner of the streets, that they may be seen of men"

      I don't think you have read it either Tina.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Tina

      Don't blame me for not knowing what these scriptures say. I'm telling you he is praying silently. It's not his problem that people get paid to be camera operators.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      What Tina.? You don't think he knows the cameras are on him after he scores a touchdown on national tv? The scripture doesn't say 'pray silently' it says don't pray where you can be SEEN by men. Jesus said not to pray On a street corner to which you would reply 'well people don't have to look'.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • John14

      Tina: of course he knows the cameras are on him. Anyone can pray silently without making a big display–you just close your eyes and no one notices.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:14 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.