Trademark Litigator Eric Ball Weighs in on NCAA March Madness Dispute

Fenwick trademark litigation partner Eric Ball spoke with Law360 recently about a trademark dispute between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a Virginia urology office that wants to use the term “Vasectomy Mayhem” in marketing around the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness.

The NCAA, known for aggressively protecting its rights to “March Madness,” filed a petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) last month seeking to cancel a trademark registration for the phrase held by Virginia Urology Center PC. The NCAA says the name “crossed a line.”

Ball told Law360 that the TTAB case over "Vasectomy Mayhem" was an "overreach” but probably effective. “This level of aggressiveness acts as an inoculation to make others think twice before using any advertising that allude to the big event. If they succeed in scaring away the fair use, then they save the cost of having to bring another weak claim."

According to the article, the urologists likely picked the name because “research shows that vasectomy appointments tend to spike in late March during the NCAA tournament, when men can recover on the couch while watching around-the-clock college basketball.”

The full article is available through Law360 (subscription required).


Don’t have an account yet?