Memphis Grizzlies Trademarks

When the NBA first expanded into Canada, two expansion teams pushed the league across borders: The Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. The Grizzlies struggled in the first six seasons, losing as many as 24 games in a season despite having top picks such as Mike Bibby as a guard in 1998, Steve Francis in 1999, and forward Stromile Swift in the 2000 draft. Bibby and Shareef Abdur Rahim were excellent for the team but didn’t last long, leaving in the summer of 2001. Bibby was exchanged with the Sacramento Kings for Jason Williams, and Abdur-Rahim transferred to Atlanta with Pau Gasol coming to the Grizzlies instead. Gasol was the number 3 pick in the 2001 draft. This was the same season that saw the Grizzlies move to Tennessee and become the Memphis Grizzlies.

Gasol’s transfer was impactful, winning Rookie of the Year in 2001. The Grizzlies had excellent building blocks between Williams, Gasol, Shane Battier, and Michael Dickerson. Memphis pulled in Jerry West as the team’s manager and sealed the deal. One of West’s first moves was hiring Mike Miller, giving the team even more power.

Because of these moves, the 2003 campaign was one of the most significant breakthroughs in history, as Memphis won a record-breaking 50 regular-season games and made the playoffs for the first time. West was Executive of the Year, while Head Coach Hubie Brown was named NBA’s Coach of the Year.

The Grizzlies made the postseason three consecutive seasons but were pulled into the first round in each appearance. The 2007 season ended this streak as they missed the postseason. This streak could be attributed to Gasol missing part of the season due to injury. The 2008 season saw the debut of Mike Conley, one of the Grizzlies’ best guards. He was number 4 in the NBA’s 2007 draft. But, the Grizzlies traded Gasol to the LA Lakers for a package deal that included his younger brother Marc Gasol. Memphis didn’t enter the playoffs for four seasons. Still, 2010 had a promising lineup with Rudy Gay, Tony Allen, and Zach Randolph alongside the young Gasol.

Memphis reached the postseason for seven consecutive seasons from there and advanced to the Western Conference finals in 2013 opposite the San Antonio Spurs. Marc Gasol became Defensive Player of the Year in the 2013 season.

But the team stalled there, with troubles advancing in the playoffs. They were knocked out in the first round in 2016-17, leading to critical changes, including essential players being traded away. It took time to rebuild with three seasons outside of the playoffs. Jaren Jackson Jr and Ja Morant joined the team in 2018. Morant was Rookie of the Year during 2019, and Memphis took on the Trail Blazers in the first play-in game in Orlando, avoiding being knocked out of a return to the postseason. The team rebounded by getting a playoff spot in the 2020-21 season against the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, becoming the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Famous Memphis Grizzlies trademarks

Though they’re a young team with comparatively few trademarks, the first registered trademark dates to 2006; several slogans such as ‘Believe Memphis’ and ‘We Don’t Bluff’ were trademarked, but more trademark applications may be in the pipeline. Let’s look at some of the most popular Memphis Grizzlies Trademarks registered under Memphis Basketball, LLC.


After its first use in 1994, the wordmark ‘Grizzlies’ was registered in 1997 in the following categories:

  • Entertainment services related to basketball events, basketball games, exhibitions, or live renditions
  • Backpacks, rucksacks, waist packs associated with a professional basketball team
  • TV or radio broadcasts of basketball games
  • Publications and printed matter, including decals, basketball stamps, collectibles, portfolio notebooks, ballpoint pens, scrapbooks, rubber stamps, etc.
  • Magazines and newsletters
  • Jewelry, including costume jewelry and pendants, related to a professional basketball team
  • Cufflinks and other accessories associated with a professional basketball team
  • Clothing for men, women, children, and infants

Memphis Grizzlies

One of the most significant trademarks on this list is the Memphis Grizzlies name, and it’s bound to be one of the most valuable trademarks owned by the Grizzlies. It was registered in 2005 following its first use in 2001. The name is registered in the following trademark categories:

  • Entertainment and educational services in the field of basketball
  • Retail store services, including online shopping services
  • Basketball exhibitions and events
  • Clothing, including jerseys, T-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, sports shirts, rugby shirts, etc.
  • Toys, games, and sporting goods, namely, basketballs, action skill games, and adult’s and children’s party games
  • Television broadcasting, video broadcasting
  • Printed matter, including basketball trading cards
  • Stationery including postcards, pens, notepads, rubber stamps, paperweights, and unmounted and mounted photographs
  • Cloth banners and wall hangings, home textiles including bed sheets, bed blankets, pillowcases, comforters, throw blankets, and unfitted fabric furniture covers
  • Christmas cards and holiday cards
  • Novel items, including checkbook covers

“Believe Memphis”

Following some difficult seasons, the slogan “Believe Memphis” was trademarked in 2017. It was most often seen in merchandise and marketing materials and is officially registered in the following categories:

  • Entertainment and educational services related to radio programs and ongoing television programs
  • News and information related to basketball. Basketball camps and clinics, including coaches clinics and camps
  • Clothing including footwear, basketball sneakers, shoes, jerseys, etc.

“We Don’t Bluff”

Following a win (after a losing streak) the Memphis Grizzlies trademarked “We Don’t Bluff”, a phrase often seen on clothing and merchandise. It was registered in 2018 for use in:

  • Clothing, including footwear, basketball shoes, T-shirts, beach suits, board shorts, cheerleading outfits, bibs, parkas, mittens, etc.

Related: Can I trademark a slogan?

Memphis bear head logo

The Memphis bear head logo is one of the most recognizable NBA logos and was created in approximately 2006 though it wouldn’t be officially registered as a trademark until 2008. The mark drawing features a grizzly bear head above the words “Memphis Grizzlies”. The trademark registration applies to:

  • Toys, games, and sporting goods including plush balls, basketball nets, Christmas tree toys and ornaments, toy trophies, playing cards, etc.
  • Goods and services, including clothing for men, women, and children, such as sweatshirts, baby bibs, undergarments, jersey dresses, basketball sneakers, etc.
  • Athletic bags, shoe bags for travel, overnight bags, umbrellas, backpacks, garment bags for travel, coin purses, business card carry cases
  • Pet collars
  • Publications and printed matter, including decals, basketball stamps, collectibles, portfolio notebooks, ballpoint pens, scrapbooks, rubber stamps, etc.
  • Magazines and newsletters
  • Audio broadcasting related to the field of basketball
  • Internet broadcasts related to basketball
  • Entertainment and educational services in the nature of ongoing television and radio programs in the field of basketball
  • Basketball clinics and camps
  • Games, including action skill games and children’s party games
  • Board games and coloring books
  • Video stream recordings and television highlights
  • Decals and magnets

Grizz Grind

Following its first use in 2018, the trademark “Grizz Grind” was registered in 2021 for use in:

  • Clothing including sweatshirts, T-shirts, board shorts, nightshirts, belts, accessories, sun visors, swim caps, undergarments, slacks, shoes, hats, etc., related to professional basketball

Wrapping up

The Memphis Grizzlies are owned by Robert Pera, a shrewd multi-billionaire with a sharp business mind and a large corporate presence. The Memphis Grizzlies have a net worth of above 1 billion, and a considerable part of this is intellectual property. You can protect your intellectual property by submitting a trademark filing with the USPTO. The Grizzlies are no stranger to this process, with more than 50 active registered trademarks and applications being processed.

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded this trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

Protect Your Mark

Get the national trademark protection you need for your business name, logo, or slogan.

Or call us today


You'll Speak directly with our founding attorney


Law Office of Xavier Morales
P.O. BOX 3256
Austin, TX 78764

office: 1-866-618-2517
fax: 1-866-639-4889