(CBS) — Tom Brady just suffered a rare loss — his trademark application has been denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The New England Patriots quarterback tried to trademark “Tom Terrific” earlier this summer.
The office refused the request made by the six-time Super Bowl champion Thursday because of the phrase’s association with another famous athlete: “The applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Seaver,” the office said.
Seaver, an MLB Hall of Fame pitcher, was given the nickname long before Brady ever stepped on a football field. Seaver, who played professionally from 1967 to 1986, was the star of the “Miracle Mets” 1969 World Series championship team.
Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 after an incredible 20-year career, which also included stints with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
According to USPTO, the nickname “points uniquely and unmistakably to Tom Seaver,” not Brady. It also said the trademark could lead fans to believe that Seaver endorses any product sold with the nickname.
Brady sparked outrage among Seaver fans after filing the application earlier this summer. He tried to backtrack at the time, explaining that he filed the trademark so that no one else could use it to reference him, therefore quashing the nickname altogether.
“It’s unfortunate. I was actually trying to do something because I didn’t like the nickname and I wanted to make sure no one used it, because some people wanted to use it,” he said. “I was trying to keep people from using it, and then it got spun around to something different than what it is. Good lesson learned, and I’ll try to do things a little different in the future.”
Brady’s legal team can reply to the ruling in the next sixth months before it is completely abandoned.
In March, Seaver’s family announced that he has been diagnosed with dementia at age 74. He has retired from public life, but will continue to work at Seaver Vineyards, which he founded with wife Nancy in 2002.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.