September 18, 1995 in Nation/World

O.J. Gear? Simpson Cashes In By Becoming A Trademark Double-Murder Suspect Asks U.S. Patent Office To Protect His Profits

Elizabeth Wasserman San Jose Mercury News
 

O.J. may soon be a trademark.

Football-star-turned-murder-defendant, Orenthal James Simpson has petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make a legally protected trademark out of his well-known first initials.

The request was published Sept. 5 in the Official Gazette, a federal legal publication, and it will become registered within the standard 30-day commentary period unless objections are raised.

From metal figurines to playing cards to warm-up suits to footballs, Simpson requested the trademark rights on a whole host of merchandise.

The list includes: windup toys, skateboards, video games, puppets, jigsaw puzzles, newsletters, rubber stamps, crayons, ski suits, bathing suits, sweatbands, berets, nightshirts, belts and aprons.

Gloves are nowhere to be found.

“The reason he’s doing it is that a lot of people have been making money off of his name,” said Mark Radcliffe, a partner in the intellectual property division of Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, in Palo Alto, Calif. “There are T-shirts, watches, there’s even a line of checks bearing his image.”

The registration of the trademark will legally bar manufacturers and retailers from commercially using the name “O.J.” to make and sell the same type of products that Simpson does. Already, Simpson has licensed his image and name to a trading card manufacturer, the maker of a coin commemorating his 1973 year with the Buffalo Bills and for use in a mass-produced, 21-inch-high, bronze sculpture.

The trademark application was filed July 21, 1994, only weeks after Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside her Brentwood condominium.

But the name “O.J.” already has some competition in the field of trademarks. There’s a registered “O.J. Squeezer,” for light beverages and soft drinks, and a software system called “OJ,” which stands for Orange Juice Software System. Orange juice makers may have a hard time objecting to Simpson’s claim to the name because beverage categories are left off the list.

Simpson himself has another iron in the fire, too. He’s also seeking to register “O.J. Simpson” internationally for paper goods and jewelry and nationally in such categories as receptacles, adhesives, timepieces, brooms, dusters - even, uh, cutlery.

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