Weekly Roundup: 14th October: Bolt strikes the business world with application for victory pose trademark

Bolt strikes the business world with application for victory pose trademark

Alice Gregory  

On 17th August, former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt filed an application to register his celebratory pose as a trademark, to be used on goods and services such as jewellery, clothing, restaurants, and sports bars. The official application describes the design as the silhouette of a man in a distinctive pose, with one arm bent and pointing to the head, and the other arm raised and pointing outward. Now retired from the track, Bolt will utilise the iconic image to go for gold in the commercial world, following a long line of athletes who have achieved commercial success by trademarking their sporting victories. This is the second application made by Bolt to register the mark; the first being back in 2009, which was then cancelled eight years later since due to a lack of evidence indicating that it was being used to sell goods in the US. 

The application process to register a trademark is very similar in the US and UK, with both relying on intellectual property law. Bolt has registered his application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, while a UK application would be made to the Intellectual Property Office. The US PTO will review Bolt’s application before passing it over to an attorney who will choose whether to approve or deny the request. There is a 30-day window after the mark is registered for anyone to oppose the mark (compared to a 2-month long window in the UK). If an application is successful, the PTO or IPO will protect the mark for 10 years, as long as it’s not lost before then. The process is a bit speedier in the UK, with the whole thing taking 3 months. Bolt’s application, meanwhile, will likely reach the finish line in about 9 months – that doesn’t quite match his lightning speed.