Tim Tebow moved this week to trademark the “Tebowing” symbol – not the most exciting news in football. At first glance, this seems like a move that makes sense – he does it, he’s famous for it. But, the logo and word – “Tebowing” – were not Tebow’s idea.
CNN reports that New York resident and Denver Broncos fan Jared Kleinstein started a website over a year ago called tebowing.com. The website became an instant hit and the phrase “Tebowing” spread faster than the Colorado wildfires. Kleinstein began spreading the word and his image of the bowing Tebow on t-shirts and merchandise. Colorado fans ran with the idea and soon, people nationwide took to “Tebowing.”
Realizing he might have struck gold, Kleinstein moved quickly to patent the logo. CNN obtained documents that show Kleinstein spearheaded the trademark attempt and promptly began capitalizing on the brand by selling merchandise.
Soon, however, XV Enterprises protested Kleinstein’s application. XV Enterprises, shockingly, has an interesting sole shareholder – Tim Tebow.
Before “Tebowing” became a nationwide symbol, Tebow only said of the act, “Love it,” on his Twitter account. Soon, though, Tebow realized what Kleinstein realized – there’s money to be made on this logo and phrase. So, like any good-willed person, Tebow and XV Enterprises decided that because he is Tim Tebow, he should have ownership over a logo and phrase that he did not create.
Over the course of this trademark battle, there will be many arguments that both sides can make – Kleinstein had a leg up on all “Tebowing” logos and phrases, but Tebow can argue his name and likeness are being used for financial benefit. Both parties will have valid arguments. The bottom line, however, is that Tebow and XV Enterprises should stop their pursuit of the trademark.
Tebow’s persona and self-made characterization is not one of greed and selfishness. Rather, he paints himself as a noble person who seeks to raise others up. Most people view Tebow in this same light.
The action to trademark a phrase and logo that are not his or his associates’ ideas, however, does not comply with the brand Tebow has given himself. Rather, trademarking “Tebowing” would be a reverse action for everything Tebow has made himself – essentially theft of an idea for his benefit.
Kleinstein and other “Tebowing” idealists should be left to fight for the trademark rights. CNN reports that Kleinstein was “one of the first” to use the word “Tebowing.” Undoubtedly, there are many more claimants to the phrase and logo. Tim Tebow is not one of them. Instead, Tebow is trying to capitalize on another’s idea – the epitome of greed and selfishness.
There are many good things that Tim Tebow represents. He has a large heart – especially when it comes to children. His willingness to continually give his voice and heart to young people should always be commended.
It is my hope that Tebow is not at the fore of the trademark battle. I hope Tebow’s associates are making these decisions – however wrong they may be. If the Tebow brand is to remain as clean and respectable as it is perceived, then XV Enterprises and Tim Tebow need to stop their pursuit of the “Tebowing” trademark. It was the idea of others, supported by Tebow. Others should have the chance to capitalize on their own ideas without a wealthy, more powerful individual stealing the opportunity.