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. Amy in Virginia

    I am dumbfounded that so many non-believers and/or critics of Tebow would take the time to read this article in the BELIEF section of CNN. Tebow is the genuine article, not one to shrink from his faith just because others attack him so. What is it about someone showing their belief in and reverence to God that upsets you all so much?

    October 21, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • tallulah13

      I find his on-field showboating to be offensive and self-serving. Last night I read an article about the Broncos, how last year all the press was about Tebow, and this year, despite the presence of Peyton Manning, it was all about the team.

      I guess I like it when the credit goes to everybody who does the work, not just the guy who singles himself out with attention-grabbing shows of "personal faith".

      And by the way, "Belief Blog" is a public forum. It isn't called "christian belief blog" and limited to those with a single point of view. Anyone can post here.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  2. regan flint

    Let me guess TEBOW , is a Republican who believes that Jesus was a Republican , American , Capitalist who wanted every one to own a gun. That the earth is only 6000 years old. That Climate Change and Evolution are all lies?
    I think that the U.S. education system is in real trouble. It is no wonder that America's in decline when some very dumb people argue over such B.S. The U.S. has become a world wide laughing stock.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Bob

      You hit the nail on the head!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Grumpster

      It is interesting how all that nonsense is rolled up into one political party, isn't it?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Mike

      Thanks for the short burst of stupidity.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  3. Grumpster

    Trademark a gesture? I want to trademark the middle finger I am giving Tebow right now.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  4. TM

    Trademark cannot be granted where "prior art" exists. Take a look at Rodan's "Thinker".

    October 21, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  5. tet1953

    This is about money. Don't kid yourself to think it's anything else. On the lighter side, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where someone stole George's dad's "move" (a double-take gesture).

    October 21, 2012 at 9:55 am |

    Sadly this is the kind of moronic idiots that will eventually end up in congress attempting to force his beliefs on everyone else. I think this man is severly lacking in the intelligence department, somewhat like Sarah Palin.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  7. Nero

    I know Tim Tebow is a genuinely good guy and I know my digust of him is somewhat irrational, but I just don't like him. I don't like Christian propaganda and he's the biggest tool of chrstian propaganda that exists today. He just doesn't get that Christianity promotes intolerance of human beings and that leeads to a hadtred of people that don't fit the christian mold, such as gay people. Christianity promotes bigotry. All the good things that christianity teaches us, such as love thy neighbor, are morals that we are all born with and develop as being part of society. I never had to go to church to know to treat others the way I want to be treated. It's a no brainer. If you need to go to church to learn that, then you have big issues and if church helps those issues, then I guess it's good for something...

    October 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • caiasward

      My disgust in him isn't irrational. Look up Matthew 6:5 and see the hypocrite in Tebow...

      October 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • ME

      "All the good things that christianity teaches us, such as love thy neighbor, are morals that we are all born with and develop as being part of society." – MORALS are TAUGHT! Where do you think most of society get these values? If you think that have good morale values is taught naturally you may want to look where all of society are on their religious morning, night, evening or whenever. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other religion you teach these values to anyone who wants to listen.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • bitnar

      Tebow as a celebrity annoys me too. It's "Look at me! I'm praying! I'm so holy! I'm so humble!" Not! It's too showy for my tastes. But, I won't infringe on his right to do it.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  8. STEVE

    Great, we trademarked genuflection. Can't believe he beat the Pope to this. Good job 'Merica.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  9. Rich

    He should keep his religion to himself....who cares

    October 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  10. Rick1948

    So much for him doing it because he's religious.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  11. Reality

    Beyond "significant stupidity" !!!!!!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Iowan

      Wrong. If this young man's motives are sincere, then he is protecting himself and his religious beliefs from being exploited for financial gain. That is not stupid. If this Kleinstein fellow was allowed to trademark "Tebowing", then Mr. Tebow would have to pay the trademark holder every time he was captured "Tebowing". That would be stupid, to have pay someone every time you pray.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  12. Miked

    You are the tebowing to money if you you believe you have a right to copyright and sew someone for promoting a gesture of faith To their god. People don't let these man made laws come between you and your method of worship. They can stick this copyright up their a$$es.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  13. nc1965

    Tebow (Jesus Jr.) should pray for some talent.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  14. John

    I think I will trademark the sign-of-the-cross that way no one can pray without my permission. LOL

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  15. NClefty

    I find this religious display in conjunction with a sporting event distasteful in the extreme. My God does not care who wins or loses a sporting event; he has bigger things to deal with. Thanking him for talent given is fine but should be done in private.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • jelway

      Jets Fan ?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Surely the point of the Abrahamic god is that he does care about every little thing, including the outcome of sporting events, especially seeing as he decides who wins.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • HB

      I find your opinion distasteful in the extreme and it should be kept private. See how crushing freedom of speech works?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Iowan

      So religious freedom is ok as long as you don't have to see it? Isn't that one of of foundations of this country, to be able to practice ones religious beliefs freely?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  16. james pfeiffer

    This is the most pathetic kind of person there is...one who claims a holier than thou, Christian belief and then, in his quest for the almighty dollar, decides to copyright his famous ridiculous display of his "personal" faith. It's the same thing as some dummies who ask, "what kind of SUV would Jesus drive"! Beyond sick and the epitome of hypocrisy.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Jesus would drive a Hybrid.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • HB

      Wow, assume much? It's amazing how you know what's in his heart and what his motivations are. Maybe you're God.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • dongler

      Jesus would drive a Hummer H3, pulled by four horses with fire coming out of their nostrils and packing lots of lightning bolts

      October 21, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Iowan

      Hold on there Trigger! The man says he just doesn't want anyone to exploit him or his beliefs. Let's wait and see what he does with it before we pass judgement. If he turns around and uses it for profit, then I would agree with you.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Liberal d.ouchebags drive Hybrids. Jesus was a liberal d.ouchebag. Ergo, Jesus would drive a Hybrid.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  17. jhutch42

    People who tebow need to punch themselves in the face.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  18. MoneyGrubbingJackholes

    So basically, once the trademark has been approved, any internet memes, apparel, or anything featureing a "Tebowing" created after the trademark date will be considered "Trademark infringement" and is punishable by severe fines and or criminal law.

    In otherwords the company has effective said, "Stop making all this Tebowing stuff or well take your money and.or your freedom!" Don't they realize that without the free use of the Tebowing image Tebow will just become another second string Quarterback with little to no skill? He'
    ll be all but forgotten, except in the few times when someone goes "Tim Tebow? Wasn't he that guy who did the Praying thing?"

    Yeah, way to curtail your own celebrityhood.

    October 21, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • HB

      Just because "celebrityhood" is the god you pray to it doesn't mean that it is his.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 21, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • MoneyGrubbingJackholes

      Prayer changes nothing. Direct action by the individuals involved changes things.

      Here is a test for you:

      Get 500 people together and pray for a sick child. Make sure to include all doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals assisting the child. Also make sure it is a dangerous and deadly, but cureable, sickness. The healthcare professionals are not allowed to do anything but pray for the child. Keep praying for the childs swift and full recovery. I can promise you that nothing will change, other than the child will most likely pass away.

      On the converse side, same child, same team of medical professionals, no prayer. Don't even think of prayer. Just let the doctors and healthcare professionals do what science and their education has taught. I can promise you that without one iota of prayer the child will be treaded and will recover from the sickness (as it is curable).

      Basic logic then dictates that prayer does not, in fact, change anything.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • MoneyGrubbingJackholes

      Also, by your own Bible, Jesus was not perfect.

      Basic LOGIC tells us this.

      1) Eve ate the fruit of Knowledge first, there-for creating the Original Sin.
      2) The Bible states that from thence on the Sin is passed from Mother to child.
      3) Jesus had no "earthly" father.
      4) Mary, Jesus' mother, inherited the Original Sin from her mother.
      5) Jeus would have thus inherited the Original Sin from HIS mother.

      Therefore Jesus was NOT even born sinless, and would not have been a suitable sacrifice for all the worlds sin.

      Congratualtions... Christianity debunked by God's own divine word in less than 15 seconds.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Seamus27

      Those who luv the dark do not easily see the light......by the way MGj I'll take a prayer to go & be fulfilled vs a empty cup of yer promise...also it's not in the bible ...however Mary's Mother was also the result of imaculate conception....I was told of this by a friend in Syria; common knowledge there....you have my blessing to goggle it or not.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Stephen

      Money changes everything.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Bob Balderston

      you are kidding me right? the world is flat, and we can continue to live in the 14th century, like the radical muslims want us to. maybe the billions of year old planet we live on, god, santa claus and the easter bunny, waited around until 6,000 years ago to hang out with us and impart wisdom. you can have faith, faith that since you are already born,that you will die and pay taxes; politics aside, wisdom from appointed saviors do not make it true.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  20. Rational Libertarian

    How do you trademark a pose? This is like something Derek Zoolander would do.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:57 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well, "Blue Steel" IS trademarked.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • C.H.

      He's trademarking the NAME, not the pose. Frankly, if someone else were trying to profit from using my name, I would probably file a trademark as well.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:35 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.