As the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get ready for Super Bowl Sunday, intellectual property protections and innovations are helping to make the event exciting and successful.

From copyrighted phrases to trademarked team logos, IP underlies much of the infrastructure that has helped the Super Bowl achieve success over its 50-year history.


Super Bowl and Super Sunday 

When watching commercials and certain coverage for the big day, have you ever noticed that you don’t often hear the term “Super Bowl?” The National Football League (NFL) has a trademark and copyright on the term as well as for “Super Sunday”.

The NFL views any commercial activity that uses or refers to the “Super Bowl” to draw attention as a violation of its trademark rights. For example, the use in advertising of taglines such as “Get the Best View of the Super Bowl” for big-screen TVs has routinely led to the issuing of cease-and-desist letters.  The NFL may make a claim directly against the advertiser, as well as against a broadcaster or other news organization that publishes the ad.

Pepsi Half-Time Show

Since 2012, Pepsi has been the official sponsor of the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. With more than 100 million viewers tuning in, The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is one of the most talked about moments in music and entertainment.

Before it’s multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the NFL, Pepsi started out as a beverage created by Caleb Davis Bradham in 1893. The mixture of  sugar, water, caramel, lemon and nutmeg was named “Pepsi-Cola” in 1898. In late 1902, the Pepsi-Cola Company was formed due to the rising popularity and demand for the Pepsi-Cola Syrup.  The business began to grow, and on June 16, 1903, “Pepsi-Cola” became an official trademark. By 1904, the Pepsi-Cola Syrup sales reached almost 20,000 gallons.

Since then, Pepsi has become a “Super Bowl” staple and a multi-billion dollar company.

Kansas City Chiefs Logo

The creation of the Kansas City Chiefs logo, an arrowhead with interlocking ‘KC’ letters, was inspired by the San Francisco 49ers logo. The Chiefs have filed several trademarks for their logo, which have essentially never changed. The first filing of the logo came in October of 1971.

An additional trademark filing for the Kansas City Chiefs came in May 2018. The filing was for a brand of beer, KC Blonde Ale, the first “beer-branded” trademark filing by an NFL team that involved the team’s name and logo. The team did release another beer in 2014 for Kingdom Red Ale, however, a trademark filing was never made.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Logo 

The very first emblem for Tampa Bay Buccaneers was trademarked and designed in 1976. It featured an image of a winking pirate wearing a red plumed hat and an earring, and holding a dagger in his teeth. Since then, the team has redesigned their logo into what we know today.

However, trademarks for the team doesn’t stop with their logo. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady, sought out trademarks for merchandise showcasing his new team. Requests for the phrases, “Tompa Bay” and “Tampa Brady,” were filed Spring 2020. The application calls for the intended use on clothing, including jerseys and headwear.


Whether you’re cheering on a team or just tuning in for the half-time show, the “Super Bowl” is filled with some historic intellectual property!

Suiter Swantz IP is a full-service intellectual property law firm providing client-centric patenttrademark, and copyright services. If you need assistance with an intellectual property matter and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please contact us at