There’s been a bit of buzz coming out of Philadelphia for the past day or so, as media outlets have picked up on the news, first reported by trademark attorney Josh Gerben, that the Eagles have filed a trademark application for the term “Kelly green”:
The Philadelphia Eagles have filed a trademark application for:
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) November 6, 2023
As Gerben’s tweet notes, this filing is just for the phrase, not for the color itself. As he further explained in this article:
“[The filing] doesn’t allow the Eagles to tell people you can’t use Kelly green to describe a color of another article of clothing, or Kelly green to describe a color that somebody else is using in another context. The only thing this trademark would allow the Eagles to do is, ‘Hey, another [pro football] team can’t use Kelly green to describe a game or theme that might be going on around the game.'”
A few thoughts on this, with the caveat that I am not an attorney or an intellectual property expert:
- There’s something between silly and gross about a team (or, really, any business) attempting to claim a fairly common color for itself, even if it’s only the name of the color. It just doesn’t sit well.
- On the other hand, the filing is limited to “professional football,” and no other NFL team wears Kelly green. (Indeed, very few other than the Eagles have ever worn it.) So on some level this trademark, if approved, would just formalize a situation that already exists.
- On the other-er hand, it’s sort of odd that the Eagles are looking to trademark the name of a fairly common shade of green instead of the more unique midnight green shade that they wear. Whichever shade you prefer, the midnight shade feels much more Eagles-specific.
- Shouldn’t there be some rule that they can’t move to trademark Kelly if they’re not using it as their primary team color?
The Eagles are scheduled to wear Kelly green® one more time this season, on Nov. 26 against the Bills.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are also reportedly trying to trademark the term “Brotherly Shove,” which is the name for the unusual quarterback sneak execution that they pioneered. Now that’s a phrase worth trademarking — by the person who came up with it. And that person is apparently some random guy on Reddit, not someone connected to the Eagles. Hmmmm.