MLB’s Shane Bieber Faces Surprising Opposition to “Not Justin” Trademark

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Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber is facing opposition to his attempt to register “Not Justin” as a trademark, though it’s not coming from pop star, Justin Bieber.

In August 2019, Shane Bieber applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to register “Not Justin” as a trademark. He wore a special jersey with the phrase on it, humorously referencing his uncommon last name that he shares with the pop star. Shane Bieber plans to use the phrase in standard character on various types of apparel.

On January 8, 2019, however, shoemaker Justin Boots filed an opposition to the PTO regarding registration of the trademark. Justin Boots owns nine federal trademarks and uses them on footwear, apparel, and accessories. The shoemaker argued in its notice of opposition that there was a strong likelihood of consumer confusion. In addition to pointing out similarities in their trademarks and how they will both be used on apparel, the shoemaker claimed that consumers would likely perceive the “Not Justin” apparel as being sponsored by or affiliated with Justin Boots.

The attorney for Shane Bieber in this matter, Darren Heitner, stated that he and his client are “reviewing the notice and discussing internally.” While the application for “Not Justin” was not filed in partnership with Justin Bieber, the two Biebers have engaged in friendly discourse over their shared last name on social media. Justin Bieber even has a custom “Not Shane Bieber” jersey of his own.

Justin Bieber does not appear to be opposing Shane Bieber’s trademark registration. We will continue to monitor the situation.