March is my favorite month for many reasons. One of them is March Madness. Like the NFL and the trademark in the mark for the “SUPER BOWL,” the NCAA owns the rights to the mark for “MARCH MADNESS” and aggressively enforces against other companies who use the trademarks without their permission. So if your company plans to advertise or use that word or any of these other words or the related logos on any products you had better think twice. The NCAA owns registered trademarks to all of the following: March Madness®, The Big Dance®, Final Four®, Women’s Final Four®, Elite Eight®, The Road to the Final Four®, March Mayhem®, March Is On®, Midnight Madness®, Selection Sunday®, 68 Teams, One Dream®, And Then There Were Four®, and NCAA Fast Break®.
Don’t try and change the words a little and think you will get away with it either. The NCAA has filed TM oppositions to applications to register the following marks: MARCH MODNESS (online modeling contests); MOWER MADNESS (podcasts about outdoor power equipment); MARSH MADNESS (for electronic cigarette refills), MOTOR CITY MADNESS (athletic contests, providing sports information via the Internet and clothing) and MARCH MULLIGANS (online electronic sweepstakes and contests).
Recently, the NCAA filed trademark applications for marks relating to March Madness during the pandemic. It has pending applications to register “MASK MADNESS” and “BATTLE IN THE BUBBLE.” By applying to register these marks before they have used them, the NCAA has the ability to get priority over anyone using those marks after the filing dates of their applications. So, despite the fact that the NCAA currently does not have any rights in these marks (because they aren’t using the marks now), filing the registration means that anyone who chooses to use either mark could face legal trouble down the road.