Organizations, businesses and websites will need to think twice before using a trademarked NCAA phrase or bracket system this year in their ads. Due to the dwindling economy, the use of NCAA phrases is being used to bring in more revenue than usual from places like bars and websites. However, the lawyers of the NCAA call foul on that since the group has trademarked "March Madness" and "Final Four."
Jay Rossello, the NCAA's Director of Legal Affairs commented on the problem:
The activity seems to be increasing as the economy worsens. The NCAA plans to send hundreds of cease-and-desist letters this year to websites, bars, casinos and even major companies that use its trademarks without permission. ...
That means allowing no posters on doors of casinos inviting people to March Madness gambling, no Internet ads luring people to websites where they can buy unauthorized March Madness gear and no March Madness Web banners trying to get people to bars or events that aren't NCAA sponsors.
The latest violator was NASA, the federal space agency. They started a contest called “Mission Madness,” using an NCAA-style bracket system for people to vote on the best mission name in history. The agency was asked to stop promoting “Mission Madness,” since it used basketballs in its design. An agency spokeswoman said she hadn’t heard of any complaints against the agency and the poll is still live.
If your organization, business or site is using NCAA trademarks without its OK, spare yourself the legal hassle and remove them as soon as possible.