How College Athletes Can Protect Their Image With New NIL Rules

College athletes are now able to sign Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals to profit off their success on the field of play. It’s been a long time coming, with years and years of debate on how to shift some of the billions universities make off athletics into the pockets of the athletes at the center of it all.

This is a major opportunity, especially for athletes who don’t come from money in the first place. However, it’s important for athletes to protect their name, image, and likeness in the process. A trademark could be the perfect answer to prevent predatory practices from stealing their hard work.

What’s in a Name?

For decades, athletes have relished the opportunity to hear fans shouting their name and wearing their name on the front or back of apparel. But shouldn’t the athlete have more say in how their name is used? A name or even a popular nickname is the perfect candidate for trademark protection. It may be worth considering a trademark for a popular nickname an athlete does NOT want to be associated with them because this gives the option to neutralize the use of that moniker.

A trademark application to a name gives some control over what a person is referred to and could be even more important for athletes who have common names that could get confused with other athletes.

This same thought process applies to slogans or catchphrases. We’ve seen athletes same something on a whim and have it turn into an unforgettable phrase or even slogan for them. This is another opportunity to generate income and ensure an athlete’s words aren’t used without permission.

One Logo to Rule Them All

Ever since athletes started endorsing shoes in the 1970s, it’s become commonplace for athletes to associate themselves with a logo. Having a single emblem that instantly generates thoughts of prowess on and off the field of play could be the key to standing out from a field of great athletes. This is the perfect candidate for a trademark and now starts at the college level. The sooner a logo is generated for the athlete, the more likely it is to have a lasting impact on the memories of fans around the world.

Trademark It Before It’s Too Late

Ultimately, there is more money in athletics than ever before. It’s important to make sure the money is properly distributed. The NIL deals for college athletes is an opportunity to generate income previously unavailable, but this also means there are more opportunities for organizations to trap young athletes into deals they will later regret. That’s why it’s important to work with a trademark lawyer now and control the name, image, and likeness process. To get started or to protect an already-existing trademark, contact Waserstein & Nunez today.

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Waserstein & Nunez, PLLC

Waserstein & Nunez, PLLC is a boutique law firm with extensive and varied experience of a large law firm. They are geared towards deal-making and solutions but always preparing and ready for trial or Plan B.

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