TAMPA, Fla. — Champa Bay is not a new term, but it seems to fit now more than ever.
“We’ve known that this city had the city of champions inside its heart," said Cody Dewitt, co-owner of champa-bay.com.
A Largo man trademarked the phrase after the Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2003. But records show he didn’t hold on to it.
Now, at least three others are making a claim to put Champa Bay on t-shirts, hats and anything else people will buy.
A local group of Tampa sports fans including Dewitt are selling their gear on the web.
“We’d love to be the stewards of Champa Bay from a trademark standpoint. I feel like we’ve got just as good as a claim on it as anybody does," said Dewitt.
Champa Bay fits nicely these days with the Bucs Super Bowl win, the Lightning’s Stanley Cup, a World Series appearance for the Rays and even a conference championship for the Rowdies.
Shumaker Attorney Mindi Richter says the trademark office goes by who files first.
“It can be a little complicated sometimes," he said.
Although issues arise when someone else uses the phrase first on merchandise.
“Certainly frequent battles like this take place, especially when it’s such an exciting sporting event and everybody wants to cash in on it," Richter said.
Records show, Tampa’s Patrick Hanlon was the first to register Champa Bay, but he has yet to start using it.
“I feel like there’s a lot of competition of the trademark but I feel like the others are in this to make a bunch of money and we are in it to be a platform for the community in whatever that may be," said Dewitt.
Tom-pa Bay is also catching on.
National radio host Dan Patrick was selling shirts months ago. Now there are several trademark applications for the phrase, including one from a Tom Brady-owned company.
Trademarking sports phrases is nothing new.
The Packers own the term Titletown for Green Bay, and back in the 80s, Lakers coach Pat Riley trademarked “three-peat.”
Although his team didn’t end up winning a third straight NBA championship.