ND, Holtz Beat Oklahoma for 'Champion' Slogan Rights

Paul Steinbach Headshot

Play Like A Champion Today LLC, founded by former University of Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, announced a five-year partnership with the university Wednesday, granting Notre Dame exclusive rights to all PLACT merchandise sales.

"Play Like a Champion Today" is a mantra appearing on a metal sign near the home team locker room at Notre Dame Stadium. It's tradition for players to slap the sign when heading toward the field before games. It is also a a registered trademark of PLACT, which filed its application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2006, according to sports law expert Michael McCann, writing for SporticoSportico‘s review of the filings found the USPTO published the trademark for opposition in 2008, meaning that a USPTO examining attorney had reviewed PLACT’s registration and found it complied with applicable legal requirements. Publication also notified the public that if there were objections from businesses, schools or other parties, they had better raise them before the mark is registered.

One school that might have objected — but didn't — is the University of Oklahoma, which claims a history with the phrase that may date back to the 1940s. A sign for the slogan was later placed in the Switzer Center and the words are reprinted on a mural in the tunnel that leads onto Owen Field.

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