The NCAA is challenging a group of Virginia urologists who trademarked the phrase “Vasectomy Mayhem,” claiming it’s too close to its famed basketball tournament, “March Madness.”
The governing body of college sports accused Virginia Urology, a practice based in Richmond, Virginia, of improperly cashing in on the cherished “March Madness” brand, according to the NCAA’s filing to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s appeals board.
Virginia Urology’s use of “Vasectomy Madness” will “result in confusion, mistake or deception with petitioner and/or the goods and services marketed in connection with the NCAA,” according to Chicago-based lawyer Douglas Masters, representing the NCAA.
The USPTO granted Virginia Urology use of “Vasectomy Madness” on Sept. 1. The NCAA’s appeal was filed on Feb. 4 and it remains active.
The NCAA has full marketing rights over “March Madness” and slight variations such as “March Mayhem,” “Midnight Madness” and even “Munch Madness,” according to its appeal.
The NCAA cited various ads Virginia Urology has run, including one with the words “Hoops Madness” that has twin basketballs used for the double-o in “hoops.”
Recovery from a vasectomy can take up to three days, time that could be well spent watching tournament basketball, the practice says in cheeky advertising.
“Call now to align your couch time with optimal tube time for the best games,” the practice says.
A lawyer for Virginia Urology could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.
“March Madness” was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 68-team tournament begins with play-in rounds next Thursday.
All of the games will be played in or near Indianapolis in hopes of reducing travel and the risk of spreading coronavirus. The sport’s secondary competition, the National Invitation Tournament, is adopting the same strategy with all games of America’s oldest tourney played just outside of Dallas.
The Virginia Cavaliers won the 2019 edition of March Madness, while the Texas Longhorns captured the last NIT title.
David K. Li
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.