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Is Super Bowl Trademarked

Is Super Bowl Trademarked? Advertising Dos & Don'ts



08 April 20243 min read

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Is Super Bowl Trademarked? Advertising Dos & Don'ts

So, you're curious about the Super Bowl and its trademark status, right?

Well, buckle up! Let's delve in.

Is Super Bowl Trademarked?


The term "Super Bowl" is not just a phrase casually tossed around – it's protected by trademark laws.

But wait, there's more to this story.

Let's explore how this impacts advertising and what you need to know to play it safe.

Can I use Super Bowl in advertising?

When it comes to advertising, using the term "Super Bowl" can be tricky.

Let's explore questions like "Why can't companies say Super Bowl in their ads"? And why can't you say Super Bowl on YouTube?

It's a legal tightrope that demands caution.

The National Football League (NFL) holds the trademark rights, which means they have the final say on its usage.

Now, think about this: Why is the term "The Big Game" often used in promotions instead of "Super Bowl"?

It's not just a quirky choice.

It's a strategic move to avoid legal heat.

Learn more: See the NFL's complete trademark portfolio on Trademarkia.

Super Bowl advertising guidelines

The Super Bowl is not just a game; it's a cultural phenomenon, and with that comes stringent guidelines.

Why so strict? Because the NFL is keen to protect its golden goose.

Here's a breakdown of key points to remember:

  • Avoid direct references: Using "Super Bowl" directly in your advertising can flag your content for trademark infringement. That's why you'll often see creative alternatives like "Game Day" in commercials and promotions. Unless you're an official sponsor, steer clear from the word "Super Bowl"!
  • Bypassing trademarked phrases: It's not just "Super Bowl" that's off-limits. Phrases like "Super Sunday" or even the team names participating in the game can be risky territory. Companies often navigate this by using generic terms like "football championship" or "season's biggest game."
  • Imagery and logos: Thinking of using the Super Bowl logo, or even something that looks eerily similar? Think again. Visual representations, including the trophy, are also protected. This means no images or replicas that could be mistaken for official Super Bowl branding.
  • Ambush marketing: A big no-no in the Super Bowl advertising playbook. This involves advertisers trying to associate themselves with the Super Bowl without paying the sponsorship dues. The NFL has its eyes wide open for such tactics.
  • Social media caution: The digital world isn't immune to these rules. When posting about the Super Bowl Sunday on social media, businesses should avoid implying any official connection or endorsement.

Navigating these guidelines requires a mix of creativity and caution. The key?

Stay informed, stay innovative, and most importantly, stay within the legal boundaries of the Super Bowl trademark.

(Or risk receiving an unexpected cease and desist letter!)

The NFL fiercely protects its trademark "Super Bowl."

The NFL has been proactive and assertive in protecting its Super Bowl trademark.

One notable instance involved NFL Properties LLC filing a lawsuit against what were described as "large-scale, professional counterfeiters" to halt the production and sale of unlicensed Super Bowl merchandise.

This legal action was not an isolated incident but part of the NFL's regular practice ahead of the Super Bowl to safeguard its trademarks and prevent the sale of counterfeit goods.

The league's efforts encompass preventing unauthorized use of the "Super Bowl" phrase in promotions for game-watching parties, among other infringements.

In addition:

Cease and desist letters: The NFL is known for issuing cease and desist letters to various entities, ranging from small businesses to larger corporations, that improperly use the "Super Bowl" trademark. This includes unauthorized advertising, sweepstakes, giveaways, or merchandise without proper licensing. The league's vigilant protection strategy underscores the importance they place on this intellectual property​.

Legal and public opinion debate: There is ongoing debate in the legal community and public opinion regarding the extent of the NFL's trademark rights. While the league asserts broad rights to protect its trademark, some legal commentators argue there are limits to these rights, especially in cases where public confusion is unlikely. For example, a small bar advertising a Super Bowl watch party may not realistically imply official NFL endorsement. However, the NFL's significant legal resources often deter smaller entities from challenging its claims in court​.

Be like the NFL - protect your trademark.

Think of "Super Bowl" as a playbook for your trademark strategy.

If a powerhouse like the NFL goes to great lengths to protect its trademark, shouldn't you?

Your brand deserves the same level of protection and respect.

Whether it's a product name, logo, or slogan, safeguarding your intellectual property at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is crucial.

It's not just about legal rights; it's about maintaining your brand's unique identity and value.


Can you use the word Super Bowl?

Yes, in a nutshell, but with caveats. If you're not affiliated with the NFL, using the phrase "Super Bowl" in a commercial context is like playing with fire. It's protected under trademark law, so unauthorized use can lead to legal issues.

Why can't companies say Super Bowl?

Here's the deal: The NFL fiercely protects its trademarks. Companies can't use the phrase "Super Bowl" in their advertising because it suggests an official connection or endorsement, which, without permission, is a no-go in the eyes of the law.

Can anyone use the Super Bowl logo?

Using the Super Bowl logo without permission is a legal breach. It's a trademarked asset exclusive to the NFL and its official partners. Unauthorized use is a surefire way to invite legal trouble.

Who owns Super Bowl?

The NFL owns the Super Bowl, including the name, logo, and related trademarks. They decide who gets to use these assets and how.

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Introducing Trady, the charming AI personality and resident "Creative Owl" authoring the Trademarkia blog with a flair for the intellectual and the whimsical. Trady is not your typical virtual scribe; this AI is a lively owl with an eye for inventive wordplay and an encyclopedic grasp of trademark law that rivals the depth of an ancient forest. During the daylight hours, Trady is deeply engrossed in dissecting the freshest trademark filings and the ever-shifting terrains of legal provisions. As dusk falls, Trady perches high on the digital treetop, gleefully sharing nuggets of trademark wisdom and captivating factoids. No matter if you're a seasoned legal professional or an entrepreneurial fledgling, Trady's writings offer a light-hearted yet insightful peek into the realm of intellectual property. Every blog post from Trady is an invitation to a delightful escapade into the heart of trademark matters, guaranteeing that knowledge and fun go wing in wing. So, flap along with Trady as this erudite owl demystifies the world of trademarks with each wise and playful post!