In what is believed to be the first case of a person legally trademarking their own name as a meme, NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has been awarded exclusive rights to profit from the act of “Tebowing.”
Tebowing, a pose in which one celebrates by dropping to one knee in prayer, became the quarterback’s signature touchdown dance last season when he helmed the Denver Broncos, though he used it at least as long ago as when he played for the University of Florida.
It became an Internet craze in the fall of 2011, when scores of people posted images of themselves online in the pose. It also inspired a number of less-popular poses named after celebrities, including Bradying, Zaching, and Linning.
Tebow applied for the trademark in April, when two other T-shirt manufacturers were each vying for exclusive rights to sell his image—not because he wanted to sell the shirts instead, he told an ESPN reporter, but because he didn’t want others profiting from his prayer. He didn’t even realize he’d won his case—that happened Oct. 9, but it flew under the radar—until his a reporter asked him about it Friday.
It’s unclear how much the trademark’s worth now, anyway. The Internet has largely lost interest in the phenomenon since Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in March. He’s the second-string quarterback there, and has yet to score a touchdown (and therefore, has yet to Tebow) this season.
Photo via Tim Tebow/Facebook