Sportsnaut — The brand new Dallas Cowboys training camp locker room has a sign on the wall with three words that may seem familiar to a group of people in Foxborough.
Indeed, “Do Your Job” is a common phrase heard on the sidelines of the New England Patriots. After the Patriots win in Super Bowl XLIX, NFL Films even produced a movie about the team with that title.
Right again, Thornton.
I’ve been saying for a while now that there are two sets of rules in the NFL. One for the Patriots, and a different set for every other team. And, in case you needed it, here is more proof. Not only don’t the same NFL rules apply to the other 31 franchises, now they’re even immune from federal trademark statutes.
Since February of 2015, the Pats have been the legal owners of “Do Your Job.” The trademark is thus protected under 1946’s Lanham Act, which “protects a business’ commercial identity or brand by discouraging other businesses from adopting a name or logo that is ‘confusingly similar’ to an existing trademark.” And trademarks can consist of “a word, phrase, or logo … a slogan, a name, a scent, the shape of a product’s container, and a series of musical notes.”
But if a football team turns its own legendary coach’s signature, original catchphrase into a team slogan and gets legally binding federal protection for it, then some other football team is welcome to help itself to it. So long as the intellectual property in question belongs to the New England Patriots.
Sure, a lawyer could argue there’s no monetary damage to the Patriots, so there’s nothing to stop another organization from lifting it. But as always in cases like this, you have to do the mental exercise of turning the table. What if the Patriots put up a huge sign in Gillette that stole the Cowboys’ “America’s Team”? Or the Raiders’ “Commitment to Excellence”? Or the Jets’ “The Workplace Has Not Seen an Employee Physically Assault Another Employee in  Days”? Congress would be calling an emergency session and Roger Goodell would be taking the cap off his lucky Draft Pick-Taking pen.
Even if you want to take the Cowboys’ side, you have to admit this is cheap. Exactly the kind of thing loser organizations do. Completely unoriginal and sponging off the work of a superior franchise. Hell, why don’t they just plaster the walls of the facility with “Just Do It”? Or “Da-da-da-da-da … I’m Lovin’ It”? How about “The Ultimate Driving Machine”? Or a simple “Got Cowboys?” Because Jerry Jones knows he’d get his pruned, bony ass sued off, that’s why. But it would appear the Patriots don’t have the rights any other company has.