When Athlete's Name Is 'Advertising Idea' Without Trademark

Law360 (September 20, 2018, 1:58 PM EDT) -- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that an athletic shoe manufacturer's naming of a shoe brand after a famed marathon runner constituted the use of the runner's family's "advertising idea." The court found that the manufacturer's use of the runner's name potentially triggered advertising injury coverage under its standard form commercial general liability insurance policies. The court reached this holding even though the runner's name had not acquired any secondary meaning or trademark status.[1]

Abebe Bikila is famous for winning the 1960 Olympic marathon while running barefoot. Vibram USA Inc., a manufacturer of "minimalistic" shoes that simulate barefoot running, marketed...

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