Matt Hardy's application for trademark on his "Broken" character was rejected this week. Hardy filed the application for the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick back in March — but now he’s been issued an initial refusal in the following statement by the United States Patent and Trademark Office:
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark, as used on the specimen of record, identifies only the name of a particular character/personal name; it does not function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant’s services.”
One example of services the gimmick provides-- which Hardy apparently may have failed to list in filing the request-- would include the sale of merchandise.
This latest development presents a major setback for the returning WWE star in the drawn out feud between the Hardys and former employers TNA/Impact Wrestling over the rights to the Broken characters and their intellectual property.
When we last checked on the matter, WWE was staying out of the legal battle. Not because-- as Impact Wrestling president Ed Nordholm had recently claimed-- they weren't interested in it; but rather to avoid setting a precedent of buying gimmick or ideas from another company.
Nordholm has gone on record that TNA/Impact would be willing to work with WWE and the Hardy's to reach an agreement on the use of the "Broken" gimmick. However he did so while making their contracts public- a move that did not sit well with Matt and his wife Reby Hardy.
With the Hardys and fans alike eager for the sibling tag team to evolve beyond their past selves in some manner, it remains to be seen whether the Vince McMahon and the WWE will get involved at any point.
For now, Matt has six months to respond, or else his trademark application will be rendered… OBSOLETE!