Have you noticed the MP logo front and center on Michael Phelps’s swim cap? Visible on the starting block and many close-ups, MP is a trademark for Michael Phelps’s brand of swim gear (USPTO Serial No. 86966342). According to a press release on www.michaelphelps.com; Michael Phelps, coach Bob Bowman and swimming equipment manufacturer Aqua Sphere have collaborated to design a line of premier swim gear and training equipment for the MP brand. Outfitting Michael Phelps in MP gear for the Rio Olympics – including adding the MP logo front and center on Michael Phelps’s swim cap is brilliant trademark placement and likely required a savvy negotiation. Three cheers for Michael Phelps, the MP trademark and the negotiator who secured the trademark placement.
Don’t be fooled into thinking trademark placement like the MP on Michael Phelps’s swim cap wasn’t negotiated for. Brand promotion at the Olympics (and almost anywhere) is big business. Official partners of the Olympics pay big bucks to share the spotlight with Olympians. Did you notice the tape and American flag stickers placed on Olympic swimmers’ headphones to cover the BEATS trademark? Evidently Beats gave Michael Phelps and other high-profile Olympians free headphones but did not pay to be an official Olympic partner… hence tape and stickers over their trademark.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: Previous blog posts on trademarks at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/; The Wall Street Journal article titled, Rio 2016: Michael Phelps’s Golden Change to Rebuild His Brand by M. Futterman and R. Bachman at http://on.wsj.com/2bdgnW1 ; Reuters article titled, Phelps Challenges Former Sponsor Speedo With New Brand by L.B. Baker at http://reut.rs/1Sa6c47 ; Business Insider article titled, Michael Phelps was forced to cover the logo of his Beats headphones and he did a lackluster job with the tape by C. Gaines at http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-phelps-beats-olympics-headphones-2016-8; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.