• insights-banner

    In the Press

Henry Cuthbert writes for Law in Sport on Usain Bolt's move to trademark his legendary victory celebration

All of us who watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics will remember a few standout snapshots of Usain Bolt’s 100m final: a cheeky turn to see the abyss opening up between him and his fellow finalists; his outstretched arms and slap to the chest before crossing the finish line; the 9.69s on the speed-o-meter; and, of course, his famous victory celebration pose (often referenced as the “Lightning Bolt”). Whilst most people will have the image of this celebratory pose etched in their minds, the following description should help to jog (/sprint) anyone’s memory:

“The silhouette of a man in a distinctive pose, with one arm bent and pointing to the head, and the other arm raised and pointing upward.”

Whilst this is not quite poetry, it is in fact the “Description of Mark” attached to Bolt’s application to register his famous celebration pose with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application was filed on 17 August 2022 under the legal basis of “intent to use” (section 1(b) Trademark Act 1946 (TA)), commonly referred to as the Lanham Act, and ownership of foreign registrations, namely his Jamaican registrations for the mark (section 44(e) TA). This is not the first time that he has filed for protection in the US, with his first filing made almost 12 years ago (which has since lapsed under US law as Bolt could not show that he had, in a trademark sense, actually used the mark). The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) approved Bolt’s application back in 2009 and it remains on the register.

His recent attempt to re-register the trademark in the US begs the question: why is Bolt so keen to trademark this image?

In an article for Law in Sport, Henry Cuthbert, Associate explores the answers, looking at:

  • What does Bolt intend to use his stylised mark for?
  • Why would Bolt want the mark registered?
  • Considerations of distinctiveness when registering a celebration as a trademark (UK vs. USA)
  • Have other athletes trademarked their celebrations?
  • Practical tips for athletes

Read the full article here (subscription required).

Our thinking

  • IBA Annual Conference 2024

    Charlotte Ford

    Events

  • LIDW: Is arbitration an effective process for disputes involving state interests: a panel discussion of concerns raised in Nigeria v. P&IDL [2023] EWHC 2638

    Richard Kiddell

    Events

  • LIDW: An Era of Constant Change – an event to explore the General Counsel’s role in delivering sustainable growth whilst managing global ESG risks

    Caroline Greenwell

    Events

  • LIDW: Liability imposed on UK Directors and how to mitigate the risks

    Claudine Morgan

    Events

  • How is trust reporting under the Register of Overseas Entities changing after 4 June 2024?

    Jack Carter

    Insights

  • Relocation to Italy: Italian Lump Sum Tax Regime

    Nicola Saccardo

    Insights

  • The Law Society Gazette and CDR Magazine quote Caroline Greenwell on the LIBOR appeal

    Caroline Greenwell

    In the Press

  • Charles Russell Speechlys advises long standing client AgDevCo on its equity investment in Agris

    Adrian Mayer

    News

  • The UK government updates on timings for Sustainability Disclosure Requirements components

    Megan Gray

    Quick Reads

  • Consequences of Disobeying Court Orders?

    Stephen Chan

    Insights

  • Lights, Camera, Rebates: A Closer Look at Film Financing in the Gulf

    Mark Hill

    Quick Reads

  • Disputes Matters: International Arbitration

    Thomas R. Snider

    Podcasts

  • CDR Magazine quotes Stewart Hey on the cum-ex scandal

    Stewart Hey

    In the Press

  • Using Generative AI and staying on the right side of the law

    Rebecca Steer

    Insights

  • World Trademark Review quotes Charlotte Duly on a recent Supreme Court director liability ruling

    Charlotte Duly

    In the Press

  • FE News quotes Adam Kyte on the MAC's review of the graduate visa route

    Adam Kyte

    In the Press

  • Amendments to the Swiss Civil Procedure Code: Enhancing International Litigation and Streamlining Processes

    Remo Wagner

    Quick Reads

  • The Building Safety Act 2022 – Considerations for Real Estate Lenders

    James Walton

    Insights

  • The Guardian and City AM quote Ashwin Pillay on Anglo American rejecting a second takeover bid from BHP

    Ashwin Pillay

    In the Press

  • Copyright in the Age of AI

    Mark Hill

    Quick Reads

Back to top