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Ann Arbor, Mich.—March 14, 2017—Michael N. Spink, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the nation’s largest intellectual property law firms, is putting  a new spin on March Madness® with his own form of bracketology.

“I love sports and I love trademarks, and the inters
ection of both is on display each March as 68 university teams and their trademarks barrage the nation,” Spink said. “Instead of looking at statistical ratings and rankings, I did a run-down of which teams are winners based on the number of trademarks held by their schools. I call it Trivial Trademark™ bracketology.”

Spink, who blogs and tweets @FunkyMarksBlog, painstakingly completed his bracket based on the quantity of federally registered trademarks held by each university participating in the NCAA basketball tournament.  He began by searching federal trademark records for active registered trademarks held by each of the 68 teams, using various terms in the query to best identify and attribute ownership to each university. He also selected a favorite trademark for each school, based on its popularity, rarity or quirkiness.

Because Spink’s methodology is strictly based on quantity, the winner is The University of Arkansas, with the Razorbacks topping the list at 119 federal trademark registrations.  Interestingly, they are also one of a few universities who have a registered sound trademark (sound mark), WOO PIG SOOIE, a chant used by the university and its fans in the famous “Calling the Hogs.”

Following Spink’s Trivial Trademark™ bracketology, the Razorbacks defeat the University of Wisconsin Badgers, who tally a respectable 97 trademark registrations.  Rounding out the Final Four, are Vanderbilt University and Spink’s alma mater, the University of Michigan (Go Blue!).

Spink says the tournament itself is awash in trademarks.

“In addition to owning the trademark registration for March Madness, the National Collegiate Athletic Association also owns NCAA, Elite Eight, March Mayhem, America’s Original March Madness, And Then There Were Four, Bracket Town, It’s The Journey and, of course, The Big Dance, among more than 150 registered trademarks,” Spink said.

Spink has previously written about trademark protection for collegiate color combinations, as well as compared the trademarks of two of his home state rivals: Michigan State University and the University of Michigan (Hail to the Victors – the hands down winner!).

Check out your favorite school’s completed Trivial Trademark™ bracket, as well as a chart of the trademark search results below.  In the meantime, may the best mascot, color combination or trademark win!

Brinks Gilson & Lione

Celebrating its centennial year in 2017, Brinks Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the US, and helps clients around the world to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights.  Our more than 140 lawyers, patent agents and scientific advisors assist clients in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret, and copyright law.  Brinks attorneys provide informed counsel with respect to innovations in a range of complex and valuable technologies, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, and medical devices.  More information is at

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Team Favorite Mark Registered Trademarks Search String
Arkansas WOOO PIG SOOIE 119 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND ARKANSAS) AND Owner Address = (LITTLE AND ROCK)) (Filter = Active)
Wisconsin 97 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND WISCONSIN) AND Owner Address = (MADISON)) (Filter = Active)
Minnesota 93 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MINNESOTA) AND Owner Address = (MINNEAPOLIS)) (Filter = Active)
Vanderbilt 92 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND VANDERBILT) AND Owner Address = (TENNESSEE)) (Filter = Active)
Duke 84 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND DUKE) AND Owner Address = (DURHAM)) (Filter = Active)
Michigan 81 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MICHIGAN) AND Owner Address = (ANN AND ARBOR)) (Filter = Active)
Wake Forest 75 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND WAKE AND FOREST) AND Owner Address = (WINSTON)) (Filter = Active)
N Carolina 73 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NORTH AND CAROLINA) AND Owner Address = (CHAPEL AND HILL)) (Filter = Active)
USC 73 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND SOUTHERN AND CALIFORNIA) AND Owner Address = (ANGELES)) (Filter = Active)
Miami (FL) 72 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MIAMI) AND Owner Address = (FLORIDA)) (Filter = Active)
Florida 68 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND FLORIDA) AND Owner Address = (GAINESVILLE)) (Filter = Active)
Florida St 65 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND FLORIDA AND STATE) AND Owner Address = (TALLAHASSEE)) (Filter = Active)
Virginia 61 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND VIRGINIA) AND Owner Address = (CHARLOTTESVILLE)) (Filter = Active)
Arizona 57 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND ARIZONA) AND Owner Address = (TUCSON)) (Filter = Active)
Baylor 56 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND BAYLOR) AND Owner Address = (WACO)) (Filter = Active)
Kansas 56 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND KANSAS) AND Owner Address = (LAWRENCE)) (Filter = Active)
Northwestern 53 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NORTHWESTERN) AND Owner Address = (EVANSTON)) (Filter = Active)
S Carolina 48 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND SOUTH AND CAROLINA) AND Owner Address = (COLUMBIA)) (Filter = Active)
Xavier 46 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND XAVIER) (Filter = Active)
Iowa State 43 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND IOWA AND STATE) AND Owner Address = (AMES)) (Filter = Active)
Oregon 42 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND OREGON) AND Owner Address = (EUGENE)) (Filter = Active)
Purdue 40 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND PURDUE) AND Owner Address = (INDIANA)) (Filter = Active)
Kent State 39 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND KENT AND STATE) AND Owner Address = (OHIO)) (Filter = Active)
South Dakota State 39 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND SOUTH AND DAKOTA AND STATE) (Filter = Active)
Kentucky 34 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND KENTUCKY) AND Owner Address = (LEXINGTON)) (Filter = Active)
Notre Dame 33 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NOTRE AND DAME) AND Owner Address = (INDIANA)) (Filter = Active)
Michigan St 32 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MICHIGAN AND STATE) AND Owner Address = (LANSING)) (Filter = Active)
Princeton 30 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND PRINCETON) (Filter = Active)
North Dakota 28 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NORTH AND DAKOTA) AND Owner Address = (FORKS)) (Filter = Active)
Creighton 26 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND CREIGHTON) (Filter = Active)
W Virginia 26 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND WEST AND VIRGINIA) AND Owner Address = (WEST)) (Filter = Active)
Louisville 24 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND LOUISVILLE NOT DEVELOPMENT) AND Owner Address = (LOUISVILLE)) (Filter = Active)
Vermont 24 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND VERMONT) (Filter = Active)
Villanova 24 Owner (all) = ((VILLANOVA AND UNIVERSITY) OR (VILLANOVAUNIVERSITY)) (Filter = Active)
Wichita St 24 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND WICHITA) (Filter = Active)
VA Tech 22 (Owner = (VIRGINIA AND POLYTECHNIC) AND Owner Address = (VIRGINIA)) (Filter = Active)
Bucknell 19 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND BUCKNELL) (Filter = Active)
N Mex State 19 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NEW AND MEXICO AND STATE) (Filter = Active)
Providence 15 (Owner = (COLLEGE AND PROVIDENCE) AND Owner Address = (RHODE)) (Filter = Active)
Oklahoma St 13 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND OKLAHOMA AND STATE) (Filter = Active)
Dayton 12 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND DAYTON) AND Owner Address = (DAYTON)) (Filter = Active)
Maryland 12 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MARYLAND) AND Owner Address = (COLLEGE)) (Filter = Active)
S Methodist 12 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND SOUTHERN AND METHODIST) (Filter = Active)
Rhode Island 10 Owner = (BOARD AND RHODE AND ISLAND) (Filter = Active)
UCLA 10 ((Trademark = (UCLA)) AND Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND CALIFORNIA)) (Filter = Active)
Florida Gulf Coast 8 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND FLORIDA AND GULF) (Filter = Active)
Gonzaga ZAGS 8 Owner (all) = ((GONZAGA AND UNIVERSITY) OR (GONZAGAUNIVERSITY)) (Filter = Active)
St Mary’s 8 (Owner = (COLLEGE AND (ST. OR SAINT) AND MARYS) AND Owner Address = (CALIFORNIA)) (Filter = Active)
Kansas St 7 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND KANSAS AND STATE) (Filter = Active)
Marquette 7 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MARQUETTE) (Filter = Active)
Troy 7 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND TROY) (Filter = Active)
UC Davis 7 ((Trademark = (DAVIS OR AGGIES OR MUSTANG)) AND Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND CALIFORNIA)) (Filter = Active)
East Tennessee St. 6 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND EAST AND TENNESSEE) (Filter = Active)
Middle Tennessee 5 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MIDDLE AND TENNESSEE) (Filter = Active)
Mount St. Mary’s 5 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND MOUNT AND MARYS) (Filter = Active)
Seton Hall 5 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND SETON AND HALL) (Filter = Active)
Iona 4 Owner = (COLLEGE AND IONA) (Filter = Active)
Texas Southern 4 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND TEXAS AND SOUTHERN) (Filter = Active)
N. Kentucky WKNU 1 Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NORTHERN AND KENTUCKY) (Filter = Active)
New Orleans 1 Owner = ((UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE) AND NEW AND ORLEANS) (Filter = Active)
Jacksonville State 0 Owner = (JACKSONVILLE AND STATE) (Filter = Active)
Nevada NEVADA UNIVERSITY 0 (Owner = (UNIVERSITY AND NEVADA) AND Owner Address = (RENO) (Filter = Active)
Winthrop   0 (Owner = (WINTHROP) AND Owner Address = (CAROLINA)) (Filter = Active)