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NCAA plans to profit off COVID-19 with ‘Mask Madness’ trademark

What trademark is next, ‘Pandemic Profit’?

Forget March Madness. The NCAA wants to get us excited for “Mask Madness” – and make some money on the phrase.

The organization filed an application for “Mask Madness” as a trademark and service mark last week.

The phrase will apparently be slapped on knit face masks that the NCAA will sell or license to promote the “benefits associated with wearing masks” as part of a public awareness campaign. The application claims that wearing masks provides “protection against viral infections,” which is far from established in the medical research literature.

Intellectual property lawyer Josh Gerben noted the Dec. 23 application on Twitter Monday morning. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, a vocal critic of the NCAA’s financial practices, sarcastically asked if the association would next seek to trademark “Pandemic Profit.”

Total Pro Sports collected more hostile reaction to the NCAA’s trademark plans. USA Today sports columnist Dan Wolken tweeted that the association would benefit from having “a VP of common sense in the building” who could shut down such ideas for revenue generation.

Read the application.

MORE: Prof defends teaching students to question COVID-19 ‘propaganda’

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.