Each year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hosts a single-elimination basketball tournament. Specifically, the tournament consists of 68 teams competing over a couple of weeks for the NCAA Championship Trophy. As you can imagine, the tournament captures the eyes of viewers around the country as they cheer on their favorite teams and hope their brackets do not go bust.

However, each year businesses around the country infringe on the NCAA’s trademarks. In particular, the NCAA owns several trademarks for MARCH MADNESS, many of which have become incontestable. Accordingly, a business cannot use MARCH MADNESS to promote their business without the NCAA’s permission. Nevertheless, each year businesses continues to use MARCH MADNESS commercially, and the NCAA is increasingly aggressive in its enforcement.


Recently, the Virginia Urology Center, P.C. (VUC) received a trademark registration for VASECTOMY MAYHEM for their medical services in the field of urology. While the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted a registration, the NCAA has since filed a Cancellation Proceeding against the registration. In the initial filing, the NCAA alleges that VOC’s use of the mark will likely “result in confusion, mistake or deception with” the NCAA’s trademarks.”

In support of the NCAA’s petition for cancellation, it cites several advertisements that the VOC has released. Several of these advertisements are basketball themed. In fact, a number of them even allude to the basketball tournament itself.

VOC Advertisement – YouTube

Furthermore, the VOC website states that “Vasectomy Mayhem is the promotion we run that allows men to plan their vasectomy around something they want to watch on tv.” Specifically, it originally started so men could watch college basketball for the 3 recovery days.” [1]


Overall, no matter what business you are in, it is important to recognize and respect the trademark rights of others. Using or alluding to a registered trademark of another commercially invites trouble. Trademark owners must be proactive in preventing others from using their trademarks. If they do not, trademark owners run the risk of their mark becoming generic and thus lose their protection. [2] Alternatively, if VUC had not alluded to or made references to basketball, it would likely not have been challenged by the NCAA.

Steven M. Forte, Esq
Steven M. Forte, Esq

Steven is a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and is a member of the Florida Bar. He devotes his career exclusively to the practice of intellectual property law, focusing on all aspects of patent, trademark, and copyright law. 

[1] Vasectomy Time – Virginia Urology

[2] NCAA Trademark Protection Program | NCAA.org – The Official Site of the NCAA