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. Jokster

    Isn't it interesting all the hate coming from those that are bashing religion here? One even says to hang and kill religious leaders and politicians. It's amazing that they call Christians (in this article) haters and vile things, when they are the ones actually writing hateful things and even calling for Christian's deaths. Who's really the hater here?

    October 22, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • Bob

      That's because your "Lord and Savior" is a motherfu cking as shole. He has caused so much suffering in this world. I'm glad he died a painful death on the cross. If I believed in a Hell, I'd say He'd be burning in it right now.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • wow

      hey stupid government has caused the most deaths and suffering on earth get your facts straight moron @bob

      October 22, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • Bob

      @wow, Most, if not all, governments for all of human history have been run by religious men. There are only two atheists in all of congress for crying out loud, and we are one of the few countries to enact a supposed separation between church and state.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  2. Jake

    Sounds to me like Tebow needs to get over himself and also cut all this religious crap. He is actually paid to be a sportsman...

    October 22, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Jokster

      Sounds like you need to shut up and let him live his life. How's the shoe fit, someone telling you how you should live your life?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • Bob

      @Jokester, It sounds like every religion on the planet.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:29 am |
  3. Oscar Pitchfork

    If Tim Tebow IS actually praying in thanks or whatever, it would sure take all the finesse out of it if he DID try to copyright it! Idiot!...

    October 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  4. Frankly Speaking

    Maybe Tebow can trademark "Teabagging" at the same time since I think a lot of people may start calling him a new name very soon.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  5. Frankly Speaking

    Since when is it possible to trademark PRAYING??? Give me a break!

    And, nice way to PROFIT off of GOD Timmy. What a hypocrite.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Al

      Only if he actually believes it. More likely he only believes in God when its convenient for him.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  6. Wow

    Ignorant journalism at it's best. He didn't trademark the move, just the name. And who can blame someone for wanting to control a phrase based on their own name so that it doesn't get misused in the wrong hands?

    October 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  7. Dennis

    You got to be kidding me........

    October 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  8. moses ketter

    Mitt Romney claims he will be tougher on foreign polcy. If he can not stand up to Tagg Romney's arrogance, and others of his party, he can't face the global challlenges. Tagg needs adjucation and media scrutiny. Families of other candidates have been under media scrutiny: at some point, people explained their greetings to the press. The Romney can not keep having a free passage.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Loggan44

      But this has absolutely nothing to do with this article on Tebowing.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  9. thefrumpeter

    F'ing Xians. Re-read the bible your savior wasn't a capitalist you dumb@$$es.
    Gods I wish someone would just end this clowns 15 minutes...FOR GOOD!

    October 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      I foresee the possibility of something involving Lindsay Lohan or Madonna before it's over.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Jon

      Really? So pray to change my atheism.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • saneCanadian

      The great thing about atheism is that it is self regenerating. No one has to teach you to be an atheist, you just realize one day that all religion is bull and if there is a god and a devil, religion serves the latter.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  11. reasonablebe

    nuts. just nuts. the trademark rules say a name cannot be trademarked.... i would suggest looking a little closer, as the trademark office should, they would decline this as well on the basis that is is in fact nothing more than an attempt to trademark a surname.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  12. JeffinIL

    Yeah. God really cares who wins sporting events.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Yeah

      Actually, he must, because he is certainly too distracted to cure cancer or stop child molestation.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      Illogical assertion.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  13. mike

    none of you lemmings should be tebowing anyway, because it's dumb

    October 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  14. Godcrusher Two Point Oh

    Making money off of praise....typical fake Christian kraaaap. Religion done effffed that freak up. Now he wants MONEY! ???

    Ban religion. Hang religious leaders. Kill off ALL religious politicians and let us live life!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  15. smartaz

    Now, if he can only trademark throwing bad passes.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  16. justsane

    you cannot "trademark" GENUFLECTING!! for pity's sake people; it has been a recognised posture for centuries. tim tebow hardly invented it. just wait til the first time he tries to sue someone for imitating "his" move...he'll be laughed out of court.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • wow

      you think he got a trademark to sue idiots that use his move wow you guys are dumb and know nothing about a trademark a trademark is only a "symbol or mark to sell products so the word tebowing will be engraved just like the Mcdonalds arches on every sports product he sells thats all hes doing. Hes not copyrighting going on one knee or even praying. That's what's wrond with you liberal stooges you don't think shyt through

      October 22, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  17. uckermanf

    What I love about this is that it shows how hypocritical Christians are. Why are they not in an outrage over this? This guy is trying to derive monetary gain from a PUBLIC SHOW of belief, something which Jesus supposedly clearly said was wrong in The Book of Matthew. And then these people wonder why Christianity has a bad rap?!

    October 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • wow

      maybe becuase he does'nt represent all christians wow look at that amazing took two seconds to think it through use your brain.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:16 am |
  18. GreenMeansGo

    Watch out, Tebow is trademarking his stuff. So the next time a quarterback somewhere throws an interception, they'd better get ready to pay up.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • justsane


      October 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • MiddleMan

      GreenMeansGo for the win!

      October 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  19. Porg

    Writing bible verses on your eye black??? What an idiot...

    October 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  20. Keith

    Stupid Christians, not only do they believe Bronze age Myths they want everyone to know it.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Loggan44

      Well it is a Middle Eastern religion. What do you expect?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
      • Keith

        I suppose you are right, I have been thinking about becoming a Zarathustran just because it is so fun to spell.

        October 22, 2012 at 5:42 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.