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Linsanity reaches Patent Office as win streak goes on

By Scott Soshnick and Mason Levinson

Bloomberg News

LAST UPDATED: 7:36 a.m. HST, Feb 15, 2012

Linsanity has reached the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Jeremy Lin continues to lead the New York Knicks’ winning streak.

Yenchin Chang, a 35-year-old Alhambra, California, resident, was the first of two people to file a trademark application for the term “Linsanity.” The catch phrase is being used to describe the frenzy surrounding the Knicks point guard who got a 3-pointer in the last second to seal a 90-87 win against the Toronto Raptors last night.

Chang, who like Lin is of Taiwanese descent, said he isn’t affiliated with the 23-year-old, Harvard University-educated player who has guided the Knicks to a six-game winning streak after being released by the Golden State Warriors.

“I wanted to be a part of the excitement,” Chang, who attended East Los Angeles College and who works in the import/export business, said in a telephone interview. “I’m very proud of Jeremy.”

Milord A. Keshishian, an attorney with Milord & Associates, a patent, trademark and copyright firm in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview that the law “doesn’t bode well” for anyone trying to make money through a Linsanity trademark.

“This looks like a bad-faith attempt to profit from Jeremy Lin’s recent acclaim,” he said of the trademark applications.

Chang said he would be willing to sell the trademark if he gained it and Lin wanted it.

“I’ll think about it when that time comes,” Chang said. “Right now, I just want to have some fun with it.”

Chang made his filing on Feb. 7, according to the patent and trademark office website. Lin, who wasn’t drafted by any National Basketball Association team and had been signed and cut by two clubs before landing with the Knicks in December, made the first of his five consecutive starts the previous night.

T-Shirt Rights

Chang’s trademark application is for goods and services, including T-shirts and hats, according to the website.

Lin’s jersey is the NBA’s top online seller since Feb. 4, when he got his first prolonged action off the New York bench and had 25 points and seven assists against the New Jersey Nets. Sales of Knicks merchandise are higher than any other team since then, accounting for five of the 10 most popular items.

The second filing was made on Feb. 9 by Andrew W. Slayton of Los Altos, California. An Andrew Slayton who said he used to coach Lin in high school told the New York Post that in 2010 he registered the domain names and, where Lin-related merchandise is being sold.

Physical Education Teacher

Slayton, who according to the newspaper works as a physical education teacher at Pinewood High School in Los Altos, told the Post that Lin isn’t aware of the websites.

A message left for Barbara Hantke, director of communications for Pinewood, wasn’t immediately returned. Slayton’s telephone number isn’t listed.

The application process starts with the examining attorney’s review and approval. The mark then is published for 30 days and any parties that believe they may be harmed can file opposition.

Gary Krugman, a partner at the Washington-based firm Sughrue Mion, said in a telephone interview that he would advise Lin to file his own application and contest whichever of the others gets published.

“I have a feeling both of these guys are small operators,” he said. “If Jeremy comes in with a big law firm they won’t be able to hang with him.”

NBA attorneys, who protect league and team marks, usually don’t get involved in individual player cases unless asked.

Player of Week

Roger Montgomery, Lin’s agent, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the trademark applications. Stacey Escudero, a spokeswoman for Madison Square Garden Co., parent of the Knicks, declined to comment on the case.

Lin was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week two days ago after averaging 27.3 points and 8.3 assists, becoming the first player in history to post at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first four starts.

Last night, Lin led the Knicks with 27 points and scored the final six points as his team rallied from an 86-77 deficit with a 13-1 scoring run to beat the Raptors.

The Knicks (14-15) return to Madison Square Garden for a five-game home stand that begins tonight against Sacramento. New York hasn’t won seven straight since April 10 last season.


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