Anthony Davis and the Battle for the Brow

Like Jeremy Lin before him, Anthony Davis may be have to endure a trademark battle before he can capitalize on his NBA superstardom.

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Layne Murdoch / NBAE / Getty Images

New Orleans Hornets first round draft pick Anthony Davis of Kentucky

Anthony Davis’ unibrow—the center of much debate among his teammates and the media—could earn him big bucks in the NBA. CNBC reported that number one NBA draft pick Davis trademarked the catchphrases “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” earlier this month. “I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it,” Davis told CNBC. “Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique.”

But Davis may have a trademark battle on his hands. Reid Coffman, owner of the University of Kentucky apparel store Blue Zone, claims that he created the slogan and already owns the rights to the “Fear the Brow” trademark. Coffman told TMZ that he would be willing to sell … for a high price. “If someone like Nike took this slogan over it could be worth millions,” he said.

MORE: Kentucky’s Title Legacy: How College All-Stars Can Play Like A Team

NCAA rules prevented Davis from capitalizing on “The Brow” during his freshman year at Kentucky, where he won a National Championship: Any player who profits from his image while playing in the NCAA risks losing his eligibility. But the school’s athletic department did attempt to control the distribution of Davis-themed merchandise. “We sent have a dozen cease-and-desist letters,” Jason Schlafer, the athletic department’s marketing director, told CNBC. “But towards the end of the season people were getting really creative.” Davis filed for the trademark rights shortly before being drafted by the New Orleans Hornets and most likely will either have to pay Coffman for the catchphrase or enter a legal battle with him.

Perhaps Davis could ask for trademarking advice from the phenom Jeremy Lin: The Knicks’ point guard undertook the process of trademarking “Linsanity” five games into New York’s seven-game winning streak, but had to outlast other contenders for the rights before becoming the only remaining applicant at the end of May. The wait will have been worth it: Jeremy Lin’s jersey was the second top-selling jersey in the league after that of Bulls’ 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, according to the NBA. And “Linsanity” gear flew off the shelves last season.

Davis hopes that he too will be able to reap profits from his newfound stardom. An integral part of that financial success will, of course, be the brow, which he will continue to sport in the NBA. When asked if a razor company could pay him to shave his unibrow in two, Davis said, “I might have a commercial where I’m acting like I’m shaving it and then I’ll throw the razor down.”

READ: People Are Already Scrambling to Trademark ‘Linsanity’

9 comments
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Joshua Braunstein
Joshua Braunstein

Interesting

post, Eliana. This is a great  example of athletes recognizing and taking

action to leverage the equity their personal brand can create. Like you said,

many athletes’ physical characteristics become part of what distinguishes them

in the market, their brand.  Davis is simply taking the next step and

applying for Federal protection for what he considers to be a distinctive

characteristic for him. The catchphrases he’s hoping to trademark may seem

unrelated to the sport, but protecting them makes sense.  There are

applications now pending for BROW DOWN, FEAR THE BROW, and RAISE THE

BROW.  While playing for Kentucky, Davis was unable to cash in on the

“brow” related merchandise due to NCAA regulations. Now, he can protect others

from infringing on his personal brand, and potentially open the doors for a

host of other opportunities.  My company, Corsearch, works closely with

brand and trademark professionals to help clear, and monitor the use of trademarks

around the world. Increasingly, companies and individuals are recognizing the

value and distinctiveness of their brands. We write about this insurgence on

our blog trademarksandbrands.com.

Markmclaughlin1981
Markmclaughlin1981

This is highly retarded. Hopefully one of his several baby mamas talks him into eventually getting laser hair removal like the rest of the upwardly mobile world.

Vivian
Vivian

As far as trademarks are concerned I know from too many personal rip offs - that I created many catch phrases that have become viral and commonplace - yet I the originator  of many phrases i.e., to-do list, artfully, to name a few are used because I put them out there w/out copy right or celebrity...So I got screwed while celebs get compensation.

Dog
Dog

Vivian Gump . . . wow.

Tom Masters
Tom Masters

Well you want a big pat on your back now??? AD can't help it if he is a few steps ahead of you.

ribblefizz
ribblefizz

Darlin, the word "artful" dates to the 1610s; it's impossible that no one thought to use an adverbial form of it until you came along.  Even further back in English (language) history is "to-do" - etymology on that one dates it to the 1570s for the "accomplish this" sense; the use meaning "a clamor, a fuss, a disturbance" ("she made quite a to-do about the words she believed she'd invented") is recorded in the 1820s. 

Maybe check with your doctor about your medication; meanwhile, invest in an OED and avail yourself of the multiple etymology resources online, so you don't keep mistakenly giving yourself credit for words that have been in common use for centuries. xoxo

I Escobar
I Escobar

Must be great to get paid for being ugly. 

Barley
Barley

as opposed to being ugly and not getting paid for it.  How's that workin out for ya Escobar?

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