NCAA Goes After Vasectomy Clinic's 'Vasectomy Mayhem' Over 'March Mayhem' Ride Along Trademark

from the snip-snip dept

It will come as no surprise to most of our readers that the NCAA is a jealous protector of its March Madness trademark. Much like the Super Bowl, the NCAA likes to march (heh) around and try to pretend like its trademarks give it overly restrictive rights when it absolutely doesn't.

But what you may not be as familiar with is all of the ride along trademarks the NCAA has amassed relating to its men's basketball tournament. For instance, the NCAA also holds a trademark for "March Mayhem" and has used that in advertising partnerships in the past. For some reason, this has caused the NCAA to think that this allows it to oppose a trademark for a vasectomy clinic with an admittedly questionable marketing scheme.

The NCAA, which brings you March Madness and the Final Four, has filed a petition of cancellation with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to remove a registration owned by Virginia Urology Center, P.C. for the trademark “Vasectomy Mayhem.” It is one of the more ballsy intellectual property protection acts taken by the Association.

It is not altogether clear that the NCAA is still actively using the March Mayhem mark, but that did not prevent some inflammatory claims from being submitted as part of the petition. First, the NCAA acknowledges that Virginia Urology Center uses Vasectomy Mayhem to promote its medical services, which is really where the analysis should have ended and caused the Association to decide it was better to appropriate resources elsewhere.

Right, because the NCAA and the vasectomy clinic are not competing in the same markets. And, one hopes, the NCAA didn't somehow get a trademark for "March Mayhem" in the service categories of medical procedures, healthcare, or baby-stoppage. And, yet, none of this stopped the NCAA from claiming in the petition that the proposed trademark for "Vasectomy Mayhem" would somehow confuse the public and dilutes its own marks.

Registrant’s VASECTOMY MAYHEM mark is confusingly similar to the NCAA Marks, and continued registration and use by Registrant of VASECTOMY MAYHEM with the Registrant’s Services is likely to result in confusion, mistake or deception with Petitioner and/or the goods and services marketed in connection with the NCAA Marks, or in the belief that Registrant or its VASECTOMY MAYHEM services are in some way legitimately connected with, or sponsored, licensed or approved by, Petitioner.

So, a couple of obvious points to make. First, "Vasectomy Mayhem" is a horrible marketing term. Like, truly awful. The last thing anyone wants to associate with their upcoming vasectomy is "mayhem." Secondly, there is some semblance of an association with vasectomies and the basketball tournament. It's something of a cultural thing for men to get vasectomies in March simply so that they can spend their recovery watching the tournament. Why someone would want to get a vasectomy and then watch grown men slam a big ball into the ground over and over again is beyond me, but it's a thing.

But that association doesn't trademark infringement make. And the simple fact is that nobody is going to somehow think that the NCAA is giving out, or endorsing, vasectomies just because one clinic goes on a "Vasectomy Mayhem" blitz.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: march madness, march mayhem, trademark, vasectomy, vasectomy mayhem


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Mar 2021 @ 9:05pm

    Well, that certainly takes some balls.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Mar 2021 @ 9:41pm

    "NCAA Goes After Vasectomy Clinic's 'Vasectomy Mayhem' "

    That's a pregnant idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2021 @ 10:32pm

    Confusion

    That is a totally reasonable position to take. Arround this time of year, I always have to be extra careful when filling out forms, so that I dont accidentally write "Vasectomy" as the current date.

    As for the terrible name, go with "Vasectomayhem" or "Vasectomarch".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Nathan F (profile), 11 Mar 2021 @ 11:50pm

    It is one of the more ballsy intellectual property protection acts taken by the Association.

    I see what you did there..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 1:11am

    The NCAA's lawyers thought they had winning trademark claims, but it turns out they're shooting blanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2021 @ 1:42am

    Well, now the NCAA is associated with something of which almost no one would have heard. Good job on that tactical decision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 1:49am

    Seems like an issue that solves itself really

    To be fair anyone stupid enough to mistake a basketball game for a medical clinic or vice-versa probably shouldn't be having kids anyway, so even if there was room for potential confusion I'm not really seeing a downside...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2021 @ 2:10am

    Given that a google search for march madness {soccer | hockey | baseball | rugby | volleyball| lacrosse} gives plent of hits in what is more likely a competing field, then add in knitting chess and bookclubs, I've no idea why they're tying themselves up in knots about vasectomies in particular - are they extreme anti-contraceptionists?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Bloof (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 5:15am

    Sorry folks, you're not the kind of Ballers the NCAA want for their brand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bruce C., 12 Mar 2021 @ 5:23am

    If I were the clinic..

    I'd throw in the towel on this one. Vasectomy mayhem carries a connotation of surgical recklessness that I'd rather avoid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2021 @ 5:38am

    Re:

    You would think that the vasectomy clinic would show some deferens to NCAA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Krolis (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 7:03am

    So the NCAA is trying nip in the balls?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    sparkydoc (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 7:12am

    Vasectomy Mayhem

    So the NCAA is implying that watching basketball can cause male sterility? Who knew?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2021 @ 8:01am

    the obvious takeaway is basketball causes sterility. and needs to be banned ASAP!
    "Subject to change by QAnon"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    nasch (profile), 12 Mar 2021 @ 10:21am

    Re:

    then add in knitting chess and bookclubs,

    What is knitting chess? Knit one, pearl two, queen's knight to queen's bishop three?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Zonker, 12 Mar 2021 @ 10:49am

    Went to Vasectomy Mayhem expecting to watch men play with balls, but I lost my balls instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Pixelation, 13 Mar 2021 @ 9:03am

    Re:

    On the positive side, the NCAA may no longer need the Trojans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2021 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Seeing this lawsuit, I personally hope people do associate basketball with vasectomies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    VOODOO-TECH, 16 Mar 2021 @ 11:37am

    YET AGAIN, for Geigner two rare unbelievable accounts pop out!

    Krolis: 12 (1); 1 comment last year, 2 for each of 4 years, then 44 month gap after first! Mar 28th, 2013 https://www.techdirt.com/user/krolis

    sparkydoc: 12 (<2), TWO 2 year gaps; Jan 31st, 2015 https://www.techdirt.com/user/sparkydoc -- more than half since 2020

    Either of these alone are suspicious. But when yet again TWO pop out for Geigner on DULL topic, it's CONCLUSIVE. No one has ANY other explanation, either. I bet no regular will dare write that they aren't sock-puppets, it's too obvious. -- Maybe another of Geigner's sock-puppets like "AC Unknown" will, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    sparkydoc (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:46am

    Re: YET AGAIN, for Geigner two rare unbelievable accounts pop ou

    If it is so dull, why are you following it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.