American soccer fans adopted “I believe that we will win” as a rallying cry for Team USA during July’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but as it turns out, the slogan dates back to 1998 at the Naval Academy, thanks to then-Midshipman 4th Class Jay Rodriguez.
According to ESPN, the chant debuted at the 1999 Army-Navy football game, lead by Rodriguez’s friend and academy cheerleader, Corey Strong. It’s been adopted by numerous teams since then, but if one university has its way, no one else will be using the slogan in the future.
San Diego State is vying for a trademark on “I believe…”, but that doesn’t sit well with the academy, a Naval Academy Athletic Association spokesman told Navy Times.
“The Naval Academy Athletic Association has launched legal opposition to San Diego State’s trademark claim, and not in a self-serving way,” Scott Strasemeier said. “We believe it is a universal chant, and it should stay that way.”
San Diego State filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office back in 2011 for the exclusive rights to use “I believe that we will win” as a slogan for Aztec basketball, according to a recent USA Today story. If all goes to plan, they could own the rights to the slogan by Aug. 25.
That’s a problem for some other teams, including the Utah State University basketball team, the Salt Lake Tribune reported July 17. The school owns a Utah state trademark for “I believe that we will win,” “I Believe,” “We Believe” and “Believe It,” which keeps other schools in their state from using the slogans, but an SDSU federal trademark would override Utah State’s rights.
SDSU’s filing will be up for opposition beginning July 22, giving other organizations 30 days to contest ownership of the slogan. Utah officials are determining what action to take, the Tribune reported, including legal recourse.
SDSU filed its application back in 2011, for use on clothing merchandise sold at its Aztec Shops. USA Today reported that, unless it’s defeated, the slogan will belong to the school by Aug. 25.
An Illinois company called Dormie Capital, Ltd. also filed for a trademark on “I believe that we will win” in July, but so far it hasn’t moved forward.