- (Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Tim Tebow, 24-year-old New York Jets quarterback, is reportedly in a legal battle with a fan over the rights to the Internet meme "Tebowing" that was birthed last season.
Jared Kleinstein, a 24-year-old Tebow fan from New York City, started the website www.Tebowing.com during the 2011-2012 NFL season when Tebow's prayer stance before games turned into a worldwide phenomenon. A large number of supporters sent photographs to Kleinstein's website, where "Tebowing" poses could be viewed in unusual places, such as hospital rooms and mountain peaks.
The website creator began selling merchandise on the website and attempted to patent the Internet meme, which caught the attention of Tebow and his legal team. Anthony Keats, Tebow's attorney, protested Kleinstein's application, which was later denied by the trademark office's examining attorney, W.Wendy Jun, according to Newsday.
However, Kleinstein is not the only Tebow fan who is attempting to trademark the quarterback's name.
Jason Vollmer of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., who sells "Tebowing" T-shirts and stickers on his website tebowinggear.com, also attempted to patent Tebow's name but was denied the opportunity to do so by the trademark office.
Tebow seemed surprised at the growth of the "Tebowing" phenomenon.
"I'm pretty sure I'm not the first athlete that's gotten on a knee and prayed," Tebow said during his New York Jets press conference. "But somehow it's known as 'Tebowing' and I'm not sure why . . . It's not all a bad thing. If somehow people are talking about prayer, or talking about my faith, I think that's pretty cool."
Kleinstein, who has until Aug. 22 to respond to the examining attorney's letter concerning his trademark request, said he did not initially attempt to make money off of the NFL player. Although he said he is not making enough to quit his job at an online real estate company, he called the legal battle to feature "Tebowing" on T-shirts and hats an "ongoing process."
"If you told me tomorrow I got rejected on the trademark and would never have control over the merchandise . . . bummer," he said in a Newsday report. "But I've been enjoying myself and I've been having fun with this process . . . I wasn't in this in the first place to make money."