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'Linsanity' Trademark Race: Jumping Through Hoops To Secure Rights

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Although the race for the trademark on Linsanity has begun -- T-shirts and jerseys already display the catch phrase.
Although the race for the trademark on Linsanity has begun -- T-shirts and jerseys already display the catch phrase.

In the latest attempt to game the U.S. trademark system, Jeremy Lin followers are making their own play to profit on the Knicks' sensation.

One of Lin's high school coaches and another California man have filed trademark applications for "Linsanity," Bloomberg News reported. Earning the rights to the term most associated with Lin's instant celebrity could mean big bucks in royalties for its usage on merchandise like T-shirts and hats.

Andrew Slayton, who said he served as an unofficial assistant for Lin's team at Palo Alto High School, is already selling $20 Linsanity T-shirts on Linsanity.com, a domain he purchased in 2010. He filed for trademark rights Feb. 9, the news agency said. The New York Post reported that Slayton also registered the domain name thejeremylinshow.com, which as of this writing had no content.

Yenchin Chang, who shares Lin's Taiwanese background, was a bit quicker on the trademark drive. The 35-year-year-old Alhambra, Calif., man filed filed Feb. 7 to cover goods and services.

One trademark attorney in the story doubted either would win, calling the moves a "bad-faith" attempt to make money off of Lin's emergence.

In one of the more bizarre cases of someone capitalizing on a sports moment, Coach Pat Riley registered the term "three-peat" in 1988, as his Lakers team was attempting to win a third straight NBA title. (The team failed.) Riley has reportedly made an undisclosed amount of money on "three-peat," and he didn't even come up with the catch-phrase. He said his shooting guard at the time, Byron Scott, did.

The tendency to capitalize on a popular catch phrase isn't limited to sports. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received a rash of applications to trademark phrases associated with the Occupy movement as it gained in popularity last fall.

But who could blame anyone for trying to make a buck on Lin's fairy-tale run? According to Nbastore.com, the undrafted Harvard grad's jersey has been the NBA's top seller since Feb. 4, when Lin took over the team, guiding it to seven straight victories with transcendent play. He's also selling out arenas where the Knicks play, according to ABCnews.com.

The kid is money. So is Linsanity.