NFL Drops ‘Big Game' Trademark Bid

Remember that stupid effort by the NFL to trademark the phrase "Big Game," even though everyone knows the phrase has, for more than a century, been used referring to the Cal-Stanford rivalry?

Well, the NFL has dropped its bid.

Attorneys for the two schools said they were pleased with the withdrawal.

"It's very clear they had no hope of overcoming our more than 100-year use of the mark,'' Cal attorney Mary MacDonald said.

She said that, considering the NFL may refile the applications, "we're not out of the woods yet. ... This was an intent-to-use application on their part. From what I understand, they're going to re-file an actual-use application. I don't know what they're going to base that on."

Stanford attorney Patrick Dunkley said it's possible the two schools will apply for their own trademark on the name, as Alabama and Auburn have done with the phrase Iron Bowl, their annual football game. "We'll have discussions about it,'' he said.

The NFL might have a legitimate beef with some of the companies that use the phrase "Big Game" to promote products and events revolving around the Super Bowl without paying to be sponsors of the Super Bowl. But thinking it could control the use of words that are just generic descriptors was stupid, and thinking it could control those words when they had been part of another sporting event for decades before there ever was a Super Bowl was really stupid.

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