A University of Connecticut basketball national player of the year is making efforts to trademark her name amid the wave of opportunities for collegiate athletes following the new name, image and likeness era.
UConn women’s basketball star Paige Bueckers filed a trademark application for nickname, “Paige Buckets,” on July 13, the day after the university’s NIL policy went into effect, according to the Hartford Courant.
Bueckers submitted the application July 13 to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The “Paige Buckets,” nickname plays off her last name and stems from her sensational debut season with UConn. The application says the trademark is for use on “athletic apparel, namely, shirts, pants, jackets, footwear, hats and caps, athletic uniforms.”
A trademark “typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services,” according to the USPTO.
Bueckers signed with Wasserman Media Group, the sports marketing and talent management company based in Los Angeles announced Wednesday, the Courant reported. Wasserman represents high-level athletes including many WNBA players.
Bueckers is slated to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NCAA’s name, image and likeness rules, according to a CTInsider report. In addition to her skills on the court, the sophomore guard has gained a huge social media following, with 900,000 followers on Instagram and 336,000 on TikTok. And playing for UConn — one of the most visible programs in college sports — has only helped boost her popularity.
Because of the talent, social media following and her outgoing personality, it was expected Bueckers could be among the top college athletes in the country to profit off of NIL through endorsement deals, sports camps and other sponsorships.
The filing suggests Bueckers intends to start a Paige Buckets-branded clothing line. Trademark attorney Josh Gerben told the Courant that while the federal registration process for a trademark takes about a year, Bueckers doesn’t need to wait that long to sell “Paige Buckets” products.
Gerben says a trademark registration allows Bueckers to protect herself from others profiting off the unauthorized use of her name and likeness, but down the line she could license it to the likes of Nike or Under Armour, who could help her produce her own clothing.
“It’s basically setting up your rights as a business owner to go out in the marketplace and use your trademark as you wish,” Gerben said. “This would be basically a first step for any athlete that wants to try to protect their brand to go out into the marketplace and sell or license it.”
Bueckers is not alone among college stars who have recently filed trademark applications. Alabama softball’s Montana Fouts, Kentucky basketball’s Dontaie Allen, Nebraska volleyball’s Lexi Sun and Wisconsin football’s Graham Mertz are among those since July who are looking to protect their nickname or an unique logo, mostly for clothing or other accessories, with trademarks, the Courant reported.