Since the Boston Red Sox don’t have to worry about any of that pesky ‘playing in the World Series’ nonsense, they can fully devote their attention to other, more pressing matters. Like the ‘Sex Rod’ case.
An interesting copyright/patent case for the ages. The background is that back in July of 2005, Brad Francis Sherman from New York, (which I’m sure didn’t help the matter at all. Although in this interview he gave, he reveals he is a die hard Sox fan for life.), applied for a patent and trademarked the term ‘Sex Rod’ written in the stylized font similar to the above ‘Red Sox’ logo. His intention was to satirize the Red Sox trademark and brand clothing items for sale with his ‘Sex Rod’ logo.
He intended to put the logo on cardigans, t-shirts, lingerie, night gowns and other clothing items.
The Red Sox organization has been fighting to oppose Sherman’s use of their logo arguing that it is immoral, scandalous, and could imply a false endorsement from the baseball team.
One of the funniest parts of this whole thing is reading through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s testimony where the Red Sox lawyers argue that ‘rod is a euphemism for the male anatomy.’ Say it ain’t so, guys!?!? There’s nothing more ridiculous than imagining a bunch of nerds in suits arguing over whether ‘the public’ would reasonably assume that ‘rod’ would be understood to mean ‘an object with phallic qualities’.
I think what really killed Sherman’s case to keep his Sex Rod brand in the end was the fact that he intended to produce the logo on children’s clothing including baby bibs and infant-wear. The board didn’t take kindly to the thought of babies emblazoned with suggestive ‘Sex Rod’ paraphernalia. Reminds me of that Disney kids underwear that said ‘Dive In’ on it.
In the end, Sherman was blocked from using Sex Rod mostly because he couldn’t produce any products with the logo or the intention of using these products. The ‘intent to use’ clause did not appear to be filled by Sherman. He argued he could launch a product line in minutes by simply creating a ‘Cafe Press’ account, but the board didn’t buy that theory and thought he was just dicking them around.
However, the board did disagree with the Red Sox on one major point, judging that it would be unreasonable to assume someone seeing the Sex Rod logo would imply endorsement from the team. So they aren’t completely off base on that one. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to persuade them the other way and it now looks like Sex Rod clothing is down for the count.
Maybe this would be the perfect time to launch a Sex Rod campaign? Perhaps an interested online pornography site could capitalize on the publicity and snatch up the domain name? Or maybe A-Rod could weasel his way into endorsing the ‘Sex Rod’ moniker?
Either way, I want a cut of the profits.
SportzBiz: Red Sox Win ‘Sex Rod’ Case, October 24, 2008