A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Olympics gymnastics gold

Will The Flying Squirrel Lose Her Title?

By Will Bartholomew

Gymnast Gabby Douglas captivated the nation during this summer’s Olympic Games as a member of the American team that won the all-around gold medal, and by becoming the first woman of color — from any country — to win gold in the individual all-around competition. She is known as “The Flying Squirrel,” a moniker that will likely pay dividends down the road by giving her a distinctive brand to lend to everything from causes to merchandise. Before this can happen, though, Ms. Douglas will have to vault at least one more obstacle.

On August 6, Fordham University business student A.J. Rotonde filed to trademark the term “The Flying Squirrel” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), hoping to cash in by selling t-shirts and other athletic apparel featuring the phrase. Ms. Douglas has not filed her own application to trademark the term.

Does Mr. Rotonde’s filing of the trademark claim mean that he, and not Ms. Douglas, will reap the financial reward from Ms. Douglas’s “Flying Squirrel” fame?  The media didn’t say. We investigate.

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