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. DJ in TX

    You are correct. BTW – Tim Tebow is NOT the 1st Christian to play in the NFL. Anyone remember Reggie White, who actually pastored a church. Mike Singletary was also a minister. And Tebow is NOT the 1st one to get on knee in prayer after a touchdown. His morals and his beliefs are to be commended and I have no problem with that whatsoever. But to make it seem like he's the 1st is what bothers me. My only point is there have been many before Tebow who did not get this kind of recognition for being Christian and not afraid to show it.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  2. ShaneB

    If he wants a legacy on this, copyright it then release it to the public domain.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  3. steve

    Tim Tebow is using the Lords name in vein. Making money off of God. Nice job Tim. Why should Tebow be any different from any other Christian Huckster. If his football career doesn't workout he can go on TV and cry for money.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Twirtzy

      In vein? What does biology have to do with this?

      October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • BS

      Not to mention that the article was perfectly clear that he's not doing this to make money. Try actually reading next time, ok?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Glen

      That's what the article says, sure. But do you know that's the truth? We know he sucks at football so he needs something to provide him some revenue.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • BS

      Last time I checked, it's not ok to judge people based on anything but facts. Or have you forgotten the efforts of the past decades to end prejudice?

      You didn't say you kill and eat human babies, but heck, I guess I might as well call you a baby cannibal. Fair?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  4. grist

    I just hope paroding it is not restricted. We really need the freedom to make fun of anything.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Paul

      no sweat. There's an old Supreme Court decision that protects the right to parody even protected works under freedom of speech.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  5. JFT

    Why doesn't Mr. Tebow read the verses in the Bible about praying in private only, and the parable of the Pharisee and the publican about publicly displaying your faith hoping that people will notice – and how God isn't that fond of the practice. The hubris of this man is intolerable.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Doc Magnus

      Thank you – I have been thinking the same thing.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • BS

      The Bible does not say a person should never pray in public. It says that people should not use their faith to boost their own image. And considering the backlash that Tebow gets from saying a simple prayer, he's obviously not doing it for his own benefit.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Michael

      All Atheists can propagate what they believe everywhere. Why cant a christian show respect/ thanks to God in public. Also, Muslim prayers in the public is not talked about.
      Further, Jesus knew what was in the mind of Pharisees...does anyone know what is in Teabow's mind... However, he appears to be genuine/sincere in what he does.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  6. Byrd

    With this ridiculous move, Tebow has proven that self-aggrandizement is his only real interest. The Marine Corps teaches the same pose on the rifle range which is called the kneeling position, so I guess this means Tebox can now claim royalties on every shot fired down range. A true pig in every sense of the word.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • BS

      He isn't trademarking the pose. You can't trademark a pose. He's trademarking the term. And he's doing it to protect his image and his charities, which is a fairly common thing to do. Almost as common as the lack of reading comprehension ability demonstrated by people who post comments on this thread.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  7. BS

    I don't think I'd be going out on a limb if I assumed that most people who've left comments here didn't bother to actually read and comprehend the article. The article is not about trademarking a prayer pose, it's not being done in the name of marketing and making a profit, this has nothing to do with prayer, ect.

    Prejudice = judging before you know what the heck you're talking about. Supposedly, it's something we fought to end in this country, but it seems to be going strong.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Glen

      I think you are just assuming he won't use this in a bad way. Sure he's copywriting the phrase but what do you think of when you hear tebowing. The action of tim tebow doing a tebow. Realistically, you are talking about one line in the whole artilce. ""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.""

      October 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • BS

      No, you're assuming he will. I form opinions based on what I know, not what I assume.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  8. Grimmmm reaper

    This is a cash grab, nothing more. If you can patent a pose, I want to patent my middle finger standing up against this idiot.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Bob

      Ah, the anonymous coward that would never say anything to the man's face.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  9. Jack 63

    They need to put this article under CNN Money where it belongs since it has nothing to do with religion.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  10. David

    I really hope the Pope does not trademark that whole "cross on the body thing" because a lot of people would have trouble giving it up. To "trademark" a physical action is just plain "not very smart" to avoid using the "S" word. I want to trademark "WALKING"...now everybody stop walking or I'll sue. Like I said, just plain "S".

    October 22, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  11. mike k

    i was really hoping the rule was coming from the nfl.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  12. Douglas


    October 22, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  13. Paladin

    The article is about patent infringement for the "term" attached to something. Doesn't mean anything about taking a knee in public.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 22, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • jakeF

      Actions change things.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Bobby

      They did a study where people with illnesses were prayed for, ans some were not. It seems the ones "prayed for" actually did worse, so yes, it would seem prayer changes things HAHAHA.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Byrd

      ..for the worse.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      October 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  15. Lance

    Are you kidding me? Trademark a position of prayer? Christianity seems to represent Christ less and less...

    October 22, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • Whytewulf

      It's not the stance it is the word/verb... read the article. I completley understand why, as it uses his name.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  16. paul

    yes and I'm trademarking sitting in a stadium seat, placing one foot in frint of the other whether it be walking or running and laying on the couch so ya'll just stopp that

    October 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  17. Yoda

    Looks like Tim is going to Tebow his image!

    Tebow (v.): To claim oneself as a righteous Christian and use the fame that comes with as a means to profit, keeping all monies for oneself rather than charity.

    i.e. Tim just Tebowed the sports world by creating XV Enterprises.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  18. Jason

    I think it's funny that a lot of people get all up in arms over football players taking a stance on gay marriage but nobody has ever seemed to have a problem with Tebow displaying this gaudy display of his "religion" and turning it into a gimmick.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • Whytewulf

      He did something personal to say thanks.. it was quick and not very demonstrative, the media and public blew it up. Now he just wants to make sure people don't use his name without his approval, seems reasonable. Your connection to a stance on gay marriage is not relevent.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Grimmmm reaper

      Did he use that gesture when he got traded by Denver?

      October 22, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  19. Kyle

    I love how everyone assumes hes trying to stop people from praying. It's not that. It's the fact they're using his name as a mock celebration. If Tebowing was not thought of, 98% of athletes who do this celebration would never drop to one knee.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  20. adoraofeternia

    I cannot imagine anything more selfish than praying to win a football game. Or a music award. Or anything else so ridiculously superficial. People that do such things and actually believe those are important events that a deity should interfere with are so incredibly egotistical so as to be outright offensive. Pray for sick people, orphan children, little sad puppy dogs. But a football game? If I believed in such nonsense as praying to a man in the sky I'd be offended.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • Whytewulf

      You obviously don't know what prayer is. How about them just saying" thanks for keeping me healthy or allowing me to be here". One prayer doesn't exlude another prayer.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Bobby

      Maybe you should crack open your dusty bible again Whytewulf, as you seem to have lost sight of prayer. I direct your attention to Matthew 6:6 "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly." See Tebow is doing all his praying out in the open, basically saying, "Oh, look at ME, I"M praying to GOD and you aren't!" Keep that mess in private Tebow (and others)

      October 22, 2012 at 8:46 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.