In what can only be described as a grossly overreaching attempt to cash in on fan ingenuity and basic numerals, the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly looking to add the number "12" to their long list of trademarked intellectual properties.
The Seattle Times' Mike Baker published a column Thursday outlining a number of different fan terms and phrases of which the franchise is looking to secure exclusive licensing rights.
According to Baker, the Seahawks have already trademarked "Legion of Boom," "Spirit of 12" and the design of the 12 flag, among a sizable number of other familiar and vaguely tangential team sayings and sights.
Now, however, the team is looking for a full numerical takeover by coining "12"—a mathematical object used the world over in practices of counting and computing—as its own thing. The word "Boom" and the phrase "The 12s" are also in the franchise's crosshairs for trademarking.
Obviously, this is lunacy. Trying to corner the market on a number is like trying to trademark the word "the" or an element in the periodic table you didn't discover. It is not yours. Smart people came up with these most basic tools a long time ago to help us make sense of this strange world, not so you can slap it on a souvenir cup and sue anyone who looks at it sideways.
Nonetheless, the Seahawks appear determined to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit for additional cash opportunities. According to Baker, they have tried to trademark the number in two ways only to find out that a NASCAR team and a hotel have beat them to it. Yup, corporate entities already have the rights to "12." Let that sink in.
Of course, these are tough losses for a front office seemingly ravenous in its appetite for trademarks.
In an interview with Baker, sports entertainment attorney Scott Andresen claimed the Seahawks are much more active than other similar sports franchises in their attempts to generate revenue from brand identifiers.
"They've always been a little aggressive about securing intellectual property for themselves," Andresen said. "They've really taken the position that the more intellectual property, the better."
The franchise's biggest appropriation to date has been an agreement with Texas A&M University, who in 2006 licensed out the "12th Man" phrase to the Seahawks for an undisclosed fee.
As for the franchise's latest venture, "12" appears safe for now from the team's clutches, much to the delight of certain figures in the number community.
You can't take the number, Seahawks. It belongs to the fans and every wide-eyed dreamer who had the guts to sit down and slog through a multiplication table. Let it be free.
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