An interesting trademark story recently unfolded involving an NBA draft pick and a team’s new star player. In this year’s NBA draft, the New Orleans Pelicans drafted college standout Zion Williamson with the first overall pick. This pick was almost unanimously a no brainer: Zion Williamson is one of the most anticipated basketball players to come out of college in years. With this anticipation, both Williamson and the Pelicans saw a marketing opportunity, and in particular an opportunity centered around what Williamson sees as his own catch phrase: “Let’s Dance.” With that in mind, the Pelicans filed an application with the Trademark Office the day after the NBA draft for that very phrase. Shortly thereafter, Williamson also filed a trademark application for “Let’s Dance.”
Obviously, this string of events would have the potential to lead to some real issues: possible litigation, royalty and licensing fights, and not to mention an NBA team alienating its young superstar. With these thoughts in mind, the Pelicans wisely decided to withdraw their trademark claim by filing an “express abandonment” of their request. Now, the path is (relatively) clear for one of the NBA’s youngest stars to trademark his favorite phrase, and stamp “Let’s Dance” on clothing, beverages, and everything in between.