How the mother of all football games became the most vigilantly guarded brand name in America.
One of the most important plays in football history was made on March 7, 1969, though it didn’t take place on a field anywhere. It happened at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where the claims examiners received registration No. 882283 from an office at 345 Park Ave. in New York: The National Football League was applying for a trademark for the term “Super Bowl.”
Nine months later, the NFL got its trademark—and the world of intellectual property has never been the same. The Super Bowl is, of course, a very important football game. But for the NFL, and for companies that can afford its advertising and sponsorship rates, the Super Bowl is something more. It’s a brand. An imperious, monumental, profitable brand: By one estimate, the value of “Super Bowl” the brand stood at $663 million in 2017.
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