PENDLETON, Ind. - A Pendleton man was hoping to trademark and make big bucks on a creative phrase until his efforts caught the eye of the NFL.
Pendleton's Roy Fox saw the writing on the wall last football season when NFL coaching brothers John and Jim Harbaugh both nearly took their teams -- the 49ers and the Ravens -- to the Super Bowl.
"If they made it I just thought that would be a neat phrase," Fox said.
Fox is referring to the term Harbowl.
He spent most of 2012 trying to trademark it with the help of an online website.
"Letters I got from them were basically that no one has trademarked it. It is available," he said.
Fox saw dollar signs as he planned to produce and sell Harbowl- and Harbaugh Bowl-related shirts and hats.
But this fall, after Fox says he spent hundreds of dollars on trademark fees, the NFL sent him a letter asking Fox to abandon his trademark application or face legal action.
The letter expressed the league's concern that the public would confuse Fox's merchandise with NFL registered products.
"I felt I already spent enough money, and I really couldn't incur any more costs," Fox said.
Fox signed the abandonment order, but not before asking the NFL to reimburse him his application costs.
Fox said he would have accepted Colts season tickets or an autographed photo of League Commissioner Roger Goodell.
They denied his requests, and Fox can now do nothing but wonder what if as he plans to watch the Harbaugh brothers go head-to-head a week from Sunday.
Trademark attorneys RTV6 spoke with said it is likely both Fox and the NFL had grounds to fight the matter legally.