Give Brand Bobosky credit: He knows a catchy phrase when he invents one.
Bobosky, according to the Chicago Tribune, has spent the past 10 years spreading the joy of a phrase he apparently constructed from whole cloth: "We Not Me." He distributed pins to his local Rotary Club with the slogan on it, before copyrighting and trademarking the phrase in 2004. He even offered it to a whole bunch of famous people, too: Oprah, Regis Philbin, and even Wal-Mart (which, OK, isn't a famous person, but you get the idea).
And now? Adidas is using the slogan. Uh-oh:
Now, after years of marketing, Bobosky, 69, is hoping to finally cash in, filing a federal lawsuit last week claiming the sportswear company Adidas and several other defendants committed copyright and trademark infringement by using the "We Not Me" slogan during an advertising campaign in 2007 and 2008 featuring Boston Celtics basketball star Kevin Garnett.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 1 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claims to represent "the modern day story of David versus Goliath" and says Adidas' commercials have "collectively destroyed any chance" of Bobosky successfully marketing his slogan.
The ads exist, obviously; you can see one right here. The "Basketball Is a Brotherhood" thing has been Kevin Garnett's main endorsement slogan for the past few years, and anyone who watches pro basketball even casually has probably seen it. We're not a lawyer, but if Bobosky's claim is legit, what defense does Adidas have here?
Time will tell, but for now we can only praise Bobosky's foresight. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're going to go work on our get-rich plan: thinking of a catchy slogan, trademarking it, and hoping a giant shoe company thinks of the same thing 10 years later. Jackpot!
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.