Usain Bolt files trademark application for his iconic victory pose

REUTERS/Nigel Roddis
Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt celebrates after the final of the 150m sprint during the Manchester city games May 17, 2009.

Usain Bolt, still the world record holder in two of track’s biggest events, has applied for a trademark of his iconic victory pose, an image as readily identifiable with him as the Jumpman is with Michael Jordan.

The Jamaican sprinter, who swept the 100- and 200-meter races over three Olympics and won eight gold medals overall, submitted an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Aug. 17. “The mark consists of the silhouette of a man in a distinctive pose, with one arm bent and pointing to the head, and the other arm raised and pointing upward,” the application states.

According to the filing, Bolt plans to use the image as a logo on products that include clothing, sunglasses, jewelry, bags, restaurants and “a retail shop carrying exclusive track and field products.”

Bolt, 36, retired after the 2017 World Championships in London, finishing third in the 100 meters, his next-to-last race. He pulled up with a hamstring cramp in his last event, the 4×100-meter relay.

“This is not Usain Bolt’s first application for his victory pose,” Washington-based trademark lawyer Josh Gerben told The Washington Post in an email. “He had obtained a trademark registration for the logo back in 2009 for a variety of products, but that registration was canceled in 2017 because Bolt did not file proof he was actually using the trademark to sell goods in the United States (which is a requirement to maintain a federal trademark registration).”

According to Gerben, the new application shows “a renewed effort by Bolt to protect his image and likeness here in the United States” as he focuses “more on business ventures in retirement.”

“While it has been a while since Bolt retired, it is possible he is starting to look more closely at business opportunities,” Gerben said. “Ensuring that his famous ‘victory pose’ is protected with a federal trademark registration would be an important step to unlocking value in Bolt’s brand.”

As far as returning to competition, Bolt promised when he retired that he was finished for good. “I’ve seen too many people retire and come back just to make it worse or to shame themselves,” he said then. “I won’t be one of those people.”

Since then, he indulged his passion for soccer by trying out for the Central Coast Mariners, an Australian pro team, but appeared in only a few exhibitions before moving on.