In 2022, Dallas Mavericks guard, Luka Doncic, was engaged in a quiet, albeit significant legal dispute with his mother. The dispute centered around Doncic’s attempt to register a new trademark to use for various goods and services. Doncic, however, previously gave his mother consent to use his name and likeness for a similar trademark, which was officially registered in 2018. Due to the likelihood of confusion, and his mother’s unwillingness to cede her rights in the outdated mark, Doncic was prevented from registering his new mark. Thus, Doncic filed a cancellation petition with the USPTO, which argued he should be able to withdraw the consent he gave to his mother. By doing so, Doncic posed a novel question: can trademark consent be revoked? This Comment attempts to answer this question by analyzing the Lanham Act, surveying case law, and considering expert opinions. Alternatively, the other arguments contained in Doncic’s cancellation petition are likewise evaluated to forge a way to cancel the existing trademark despite the issue of consent.
While Doncic ultimately dropped his claim against his mother, the question of revoking consent remains imperative because of its implications on college NIL deals. College athletes utilize trademarks to protect their brand and advance their NIL interests. However, whether due to minor status, business inexperience, or other time commitments, college athletes may give consent to others to register a trademark using their name and likeness. This Comment explores many practical safeguards that college athletes can take to prevent disputes such as Doncic’s.
Revoking Trademark Consent: Can It Be Done?,
SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev.