Forbes: UA Trademarks Hog Call

July 18, 2014

By Mark Carter

Football is in the air.

Literally, it feels like football season. The streets of downtown Little Rock are unseasonably cool this July day, and the if the past week's SEC Media Days hadn't officially kicked off the football preseason, we would've been longing for the gridiron anyway.

Which brings us to this nugget from Forbes: The University of Arkansas has trademarked the Hog Call. (Shout out -- an expression we hope the kids still use -- to the fine folks at Arkansas Fight for bringing our attention to it.) 

From Forbes' sports biz contributor Darren Heitner:

Earlier this month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted registration of the sensory mark to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas. The type of mark is atypical among commonly registered trademarks. Instead of it consisting of a word or design, it is a sound. Specifically, the University of Arkansas has received federal protection of Arkansas-influenced crowd cheers consisting of the “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie!” chant in conjunction with providing collegiate athletic and sporting events.

The claimed first use in commerce of the mark stems back to December 31, 1929. The application for ownership of the trademark, submitted on July 26, 2013, had to overcome a USPTO examining attorney’s Office Action, which stated that “[b]ecause crowds commonly chant encouraging words at sporting events, consumers of the sporting event would not recognize the chant as a source indicator for the event.”

Arkansas’ response included a substitute specimen that consisted of a video of former University of Arkansas Athletic Director and coach Frank Broyles leading a crowd in the Hog Call. The examining attorney deemed the substitute specimen sufficient to warrant registration of the applied for mark despite prior concern that chants consisting of encouraging words are quite common at sporting events.

(And here's coverage of the Hog Call trademark from SI.)

Heinter asks what benefits the UA could reap from the decision to trademark the Hog Call, and wonders if other universities will follow suit. Read the full post here.

As to the first question, here's a take from Robert Boyd at Arkansas Fight:

So why trademark an expression like the Hog Call® ? I don't really know, but if I had to speculate, if many people started trying to use the Hog Call or other universities etc. it would blur the lines on where the Hog Call® originated, where it came from, and who the identifying entity it's associated with was. This is just the U of A's way of saying "This is ours". 

That sounds about right to us. You just never know when those Javelinas from Texas A&M-Kingsville might get a little sneaky. Anyway, read Boyd's full post here

The Hog Call trademark hasn't hit the USPTO site yet, but we mine it each week for Arkansas patents and will keep an eye out.  

In the meantime, let's enjoy this wonderful reminder of fall crispness and the fast approach of God's sport...College football. 

And while we're at it, let's stand up and Call. Those. Hogs......

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