Friday, February 18, 2011

Wanted: Product endorsement from Seinfeld character

Dear Rich: After several years of slow product development, I am ready to proceed with launching a product that I believe will have some national, continental and perhaps European appeal. The invention is an accessory that compliments an already popular product.  It's fashionable and performs several functions. In the marketing plan I would like to trademark a phrase from a popular Seinfeld character.  (I read your blog entry on the "No Soup for You" question.) The product will sell without it, but the phrase dovetails perfectly and would help greatly.  I've done a limited trademark search and have not found the phrase. Ideally I would like to use the phrase and get the character's endorsement and to show the clip from the Seinfeld show. We're familiar with the Seinfeld Brand and we think you'll run into trouble trying to connect your product, the phrase and the show. It's possible that you may be able to register the phrase as your product's trademark (we'd advise a search of USPTO records before proceeding with that) and it's possible that you might be able to convince the show's owners to make an endorsement deal. But in the world of probability -- and considering how selective the show is about endorsements -- any attempts to associate with Seinfeld will likely be scrutinized by the show's protective lawyers. If your product is as sellable as you describe, we don't think you need to risk the lawsuit.