March 17, 2011 7:33am PT by Eriq Gardner
Charlie Sheen Catchphrases Prompt Trademark War; Who's Winning?
The next time Charlie Sheen wishes to say something outrageous, he may want to pause a beat and make sure his intellectual property lawyer is paying attention. In the past few weeks, as Sheen has blitzed his way into the cultural imagination, he's triggered a secondary phenomenon: People are rushing to the U.S. Trademark Office to stake claims over his many quotable quotes.
How many small-time entrepreneurs, for example, have decided they simply must sell t-shirts with the word "WINNING" mentioned prominently? Quite a few, in fact. In the past few weeks, various folks have registered the marks, "Winning!," "Uh Winning," "Winning," "World Wide Winning Connections," "Friendship, Who's Winning?" and "Bi Winning."
Others have gone to the Trademark Office to stake Sheen's other popular catch phrases. A video website that keeps track of new Charlie Sheen appearances has registered "Tiger Blood TV." A Florida-based toy manufacturer has registered the "Magic Charlie Ball." Another company registered "Adonis DNA" for a line of dietary and nutritional supplements.
The hot activity over Sheen's popular phrases could trigger some legal action.
The actor will soon be taking to the road on a multiple-city performing tour. At the concerts, Sheen plans to sell t-shirts and other merchandise stamped with his famous catch phrases, and he's entrusted the task to Live Nation’s FEA unit. Here's a look at some of the t-shirts he intends to sell. Soon, his reps may be boning up on Sheeneology to figure out which of his words have hit cult status and who are the, um, turncoats, traitors and trolls who are looking to rip him off.
Sheen isn't a complete novice when it comes to the trademark arena. In the late 1990s, Sheen set up a company called Masheen Inc. and attempted to trademark the phrase, "Drugs Are Loser Friendly" for flyers, stickers, t shirts, mugs, and other items. In 2005, Sheen's company, Three Dog Park, filed a trademark application for "Sheen Kidz," a line of couture children's sportswear that apparently did big business in Japan.
Unfortunately, what we might imagine as one of Sheen's best new business/trademark opportunities seems to have been taken. Sheen has repeatedly referred to his enemies, from Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre to antagonistic porn stars, as "turds." The word is one of Charlie Sheen's Top 5 media phrases, and we might be excited to play a game where a Sheen avatar uses a slingshot to launch flying objects like lawsuit grenades with the intent to destroy various Hollywood turds. Similar to this popular game. Sadly, "Angry Turds" was registered a few weeks ago and doesn't seem to be connected with the Charlie Sheen imbroglio.
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Eriq Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter.