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The Lawyers Weigh In On Midnight Madness Copyright!!

We got this from a patent lawyer who read our comments
on Midnight Madness & Copyright. Thanks!

Well, maybe not so hot of a tip, but just a general clarification.

I read the story about Midnight Madness being copyrighted. I'm an Intellectual Property attorney in Cincinnati and I can tell you that despite the quote from the basketball office, you probably cannot "copyright" the term Midnight Madness. You CAN, however, trademark the term (people often get these two schemes of protection confused).

I did a little research and discovered that MIDNIGHT MADNESS is a registered trademark for "shoes and clothing, namely sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants" owned by a company called Morgan Corporation, a Kansas Corporation out of Prairie Village, Kansas (Roy...did you do this???). Huffy Corporation, a client of ours, also owns a pending, intent-to-use trademark application for MIDNIGHT MADNESS for "basketball backboards, poles and goals, and portable basketball units consisting of a backboard, pole and goal."

Essentially what this means, and the way trademark law works, is that nobody else is allowed to use the term MIDNIGHT MADNESS on goods similar to those registered. What constitutes "similar goods" is where the art comes in, but for example, Morgan Corporation could probably prevent somebody from selling gym shorts or socks with MIDNIGHT MADNESS printed on them based on their existing registration.

BUT...(and this is a big "but"), Duke could very well register the mark MIDNIGHT MADNESS for something like "basketball services, namely a televised midnight basketball practice and entertainment event." Neither of the current MIDNIGHT MADNESS trademark owners could prevent Duke from doing this solely on the basis of their existing registrations.