In July of 2005, an enterprising Red Sox fan named Brad Francis Sherman attempted to trademark the above logo for use on t-shirts, hats, etc. The Red Sox filed an opposition to his trademark, and three years later, a court upheld their opposition, banning Brad from using the logo for his financial gain. The court decision was featured on CNBC and AOL Fanhouse among others, but we at Mass Hysteria have obtained the first official interview from Mr. Sherman himself:
You've been listed as a New Yorker by various media outlets. Please explain, for those that do not happen to know you, the full extent of your Red Sox and Boston fandom, including any and all bodily harm that you've inflicted/had inflicted on you for your love of Boston sports.
I’m a Bostonian living in New York, which beats being a straight-up Bostonian or worse yet, a New Yorker. It’s the best of both worlds – all the benefits of superior sports allegiances but in the city with hotter chicks.
I hate the Yankees. Always have. Hate them even more since moving to New York. I shredded every tendon in my right hand punching a concrete wall the moment Aaron Boone’s bat connected with Wake’s ill-fated floater back in ’03. My hand looked like something from one of those Dexter ads.
I’m fairly certain I engaged in various modes of antisocial behavior after the Super Bowl last year. That was the worst day ever. The balls of my feet hurt for months after that night. I’m not sure what happened.
I see a lot of Red Sox-esque shirts and apparel floating around. Why don't these people end up in court, or do they?
I’m no expert but I have a feeling that the likelihood of ending up in court is directly proportional to the profitability of the shirt/apparel business in question.
How drunk were you when you came up with the idea for "Sex Rod?"
Back in 7th grade our class went on an outing to Fenway. Six classmates attended shirtless, each with a different letter of ‘RED SOX’ painted on his chest. 7th grade humor ensued. Years later it struck me as a good idea for t-shirts. And condom wrappers.
Describe the process you went through in filing the trademark, and how you came to find out the Sox objected to your idea.
I knew I wanted to sell the t-shirts, but figured that if I ever made any money off the idea I’d end up in court or shut down. So I thought it better to preempt and file for a trademark up-front. If I was going to end up in court, might as well make it a battle of ideas I might actually win than a battle of competing document requests. I'm not a lawyer. I have no stomach for that sort of thing.
Filing was a piece of cake. They even allow you to file the papers online, which made the process that much easier. The attorney assigned to the case at the board was extremely helpful and attentive. The board’s opinions blow, but their personnel were great.
As for finding out the Sox objected, I was waiting for their call, essentially. The call itself was from a partner at their Intellectual Property law firm. I felt honored they stuck the big dog on me right away.
How many times did you have to appear in court? How much did this whole thing cost you? How much do you estimate it cost the Sox?
Not once. I had visions of packed galleries championing the common man. No such luck. Turns out these trademark affairs are conducted almost entirely though documents. The only cost associated with the entire thing was the up-front filing fee. A couple of my attorney-type friends have estimated that the Sox may have sunk 6 figures into the battle. If that means no more Mike Timlin, then it was worth it.
How did the Red Sox end up winning this case? Was there any legal precedent they cited?
This case actually ended up becoming a precedent. They beat me on two counts, I won on two. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it a draw. They got me on vulgarity and lack of bona fide intent to use, both of which strike me as BS. Who needs a business plan to sell t-shirts over the internet?
The news reports note that you hoped to put your logo on over 100 items. What were some of the more obscure items which you hoped to shoot your Sex Rod all over?
Anoraks and ascots. Would not have wanted to rule out the all-important Inuit and douchebag fan bases. I just filed for everything under the category that contained t-shirts. I had no idea you could pick and choose.
Some of your prospective items were for children. At which stage in child development does the Sex Rod begin its formation?
The sex rod begins at conception.
Due to a completely unsubstantiated rumor that I just came up with, you also planned to open a string of gay bars with the "Sex Rod" name. Is this now-published rumor true or false? Even if it's false, being named "the man behind the Sex Rod" sounds a little gay, does it not?
True. Extremely, and I’m OK with that.
If you were to purchase an item in Target that would most qualify as a Sex Rod, what would it be and why?
Do they sell dildos? Cucumbers? Otherwise I got nothin’. If I were an artist, my medium would not be subtlety.
Who is a sexier Rod? Rod Laver, Rod Flanders or Rod Barajas? If not one of these three, which Rod do you find the sexiest?
Rod Laver. No brainer. For the footwear. Awesome kicks. Rod Barajas named his kid Rod Jr., so he’s a close second.
If one were to wear a "Sex Rod" t-shirt while wearing a pair of calf-length red socks, would that make them more or less of a Sex Rod?
What are you? A lawyer?
If you were to design a Sex Rod sex toy, what features would it have, and what size batteries would it require?
Relay baton overstock. No batteries required.
Does a Sex Rod have any sort of magnetic pull, and if so, how does this affect global warming?
All magnetism, figurative and otherwise is attributable to sex rods. Global warming is a myth concocted by New York liberals like me.
Have you considered sidestepping this legal issue by changing your official name to Sex Rod, kinda like the Ultimate Warrior or World B. Free?
Lloyd Bernard Free’s parents already had him 2/3 of the way there. My parents lack such vision. Maybe I should start slow and just change my first name to “Sex”.
Are you pissed that now everyone knows that your middle name is Francis?