Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has taken steps to capitalize on his fame and broific catch-phrase, “Jeah”. If you are mystified by the meaning of the word, fear not, as you can see Mr. Lochte giving examples of its diverse use in a revealing youtube video. However it is used, Mr. Lochte sees value in it and has applied for a trademark for the use of “Jeah” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to the trademark application Lochte plans to use the phrase on several pieces of merchandise such as sunglasses, workout DVDs, trading cards, as well as clothing. In all, there are five classes of goods on which the trademark will be used. There is one problem, shortly after Lochte’s application; another company filed an application for the use of “Jeah” for the same class of goods.
The applicant, Jeah Communications LLC, claims the first use of “Jeah” as early as April 1999. The USTPO granted the applicant a trademark in “Jeah” for use in “[h]osting the web sites of others on a computer server for a global computer network”. Jeah Communication’s first application does not indicate they used the mark on clothing or other articles which fall under international class 25, but its more recent application, filed twenty days after Lochte’s application, requests it be granted rights to use “Jeah” under class 25. An examination of the applicant’s homepage, Jeah.biz provides a link to a Café Press store with its mark splattered all over random goods, from underpants to coffee mugs.
These two will inevitability will clash over the use of the mark “Jeah”. While it is obvious from the USTPO record that Jeah Communications has used the mark in connection with their web hosting service for over ten years it is much less obvious how long they have used the mark under class 25. Without prior use on clothing and related articles and proof of that prior use my thinking is that Lochte will be able to bro out and use the mark as he requested in his trademark application. Either way, it will be several months before we know how this will play out in the eyes of the USPTO.
If you can’t live without your Ryan Lochte “Jeah” merchandise you can buy some sweet sunglasses on his homepage.