7 August 2017Trademarks

Usain Bolt trademark portfolio suggests he’s not finished yet: lawyers

As the curtain came down on a glittering career this weekend, eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt may seek to capitalise on his trademark portfolio and brand image post-retirement, according to lawyers.

The Jamaican sprinter is one of the most recognisable faces in athletics and has his own trademark portfolio, including US registration number 3956398 for the ‘Usain Bolt’ name on clothes and number 4069022 for a silhouette of Bolt performing the ‘lightning bolt’ pose.

The 30-year-old has amassed a total wealth of $34.2 million, according to Forbes, and has been sponsored by Puma since he was a teenager.

“Whilst Usain Bolt has made his name as a sportsman, his brand insignia can be used to sell a huge range of merchandise, from perfume to clothing to sports products,” stated Sharon Daboul, senior associate at law firm EIP.

She added: “Licensing can generate a valuable income that will outlive his years as a sportsman.  Through careful brand management, his name and image have the potential to become his most important asset and lasting legacy.”

A search of the US trademark database shows seven trademarks registered by Bolt ranging from the ‘Usain Bolt’ name for clothing to the ‘UB’ initials and the silhouette for use in various fields including post cards and clothing.

“Whilst Usain Bolt may be retiring this week, his trademark portfolio suggests that we have not seen the last of him,” said David Stone, partner at Allen & Overy.

He added: “We should expect to see the Usain Bolt brand extend to a wide range of merchandise and entertainment services in the future. Athletes have a short career on the track, but with robust branding they can continue to monetise their names and reputation post-retirement.”

Other sportsman such as late British tennis player Fred Perry and basketball star Michael Jordan are examples of those who have capitalised on brands built through sport.

It was widely reported that Jordan made more money in 2014 alone from the sale of “Jordan” trainers than he did in his entire playing career.

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