What steps do I need to take for my patent? 7 Answers as of December 19, 2010

I have a question about an invention idea that involves the National Football League. I have an idea that would use the NFL name, teams, and players. I am not sure if I should contact the NFL, a Patent Lawyer, or what first step I should take. Thank you for your help, it is appreciated.

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Young Basile
Young Basile | Denise Glassmeyer
If you intend to use any of the names or insignia associated with the National Football League, you will need to obtain permission of the NFL and any other trademark/copyright owners. Begin with the assumption that all such names and insignia are subject to copyright and/or trademark protection. Unauthorized use of such material can expose you to legal action for infringement. There can also be legal issues regarding the use of player's names and likenesses depending on the particulars of your concept

Retain a knowledgeable IP attorney and discuss the specifics of your idea. The two of you can determine how best to proceed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/19/2010
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
As for your invention idea, you should consult a patent attorney to determine if the "idea" is an invention (an article, device, composition, process for making, and method of use) that might be patentable. A patentable invention must be useful, and new (novel) and not predictably derivable (non-obvious) from similar inventions in the prior art. The use of a name and other trademark of the NFL or its teams and players typically requires obtaining a trademark or copyright license, or both, from the NFL. The NFL uses a fairly standard game-plan, so to speak, for responding to a request for a license under its trademarks and copyrights for use on marketed products. You should consult a patent or trademark attorney to ensure you comply with the NFL's requirements. Please contact me at your earliest convenience for assistance with your patenting and trademark and copyright licensing needs.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/11/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Before wasting money on a patent atty I would suggest that you clear your plan with the NFL.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/8/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
The first thing to do is to search patentability.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/8/2010
Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
You will need NFL permission and that will involve some expense. You are best advised to work with a patent lawyer on the patent, and for most people it would probably make sense to approach the NFL using your legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/7/2010
    Law Offices of Daniel Richardson
    Law Offices of Daniel Richardson | Daniel R. Richardson
    If it involves the NFL, you will most likely have to license it from them.

    If it is a totally new idea, you may want to consult an attorney to protect it before disclosure.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2010
    Kafantaris Law Group
    Kafantaris Law Group | Theo Kafantaris
    You are not permitted to use trademarked names in a patent application. As such, you would be required to use loose references like "football league" and "football team" in your application.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/7/2010
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