Joel Embiid might have competition for ‘Trust the Process’ trademark

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The phrase “Trust the Process” has been around for quite a while in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers and their fans have held onto the phrase long after it was coined in the association’s lexicon by former Sixers general manager at Sam Hinkie.

According to my buddy Max Rappaport, “the process” was first mentioned by Hinkie in a press conference in 2013. Rappaport has written a definitive history of the phrase and its evolution from there, which I recommend checking out. Meanwhile, in 2018 Sixers big man Joel Embiid has made it a point to keep the phrase alive.

Embiid has even gone as far to try and register a trademark of the phrase, ostensibly for use on things like basketball shoes and other merchandise. However, CNBC host Marcus Lemonis has said that the trademark already belongs to him and that he’s been using it on his show.

Via Twitter:

Lemonis’ show “The Profit” first aired in July of 2013, two months after Hinkie used the word “process” in his press conference. However, according to Rappaport, the phrase “Trust the Process” wasn’t used by Sixers fans until the summer of 2014.

What this means isn’t clear. A loose understanding of how trademarks work is that the law grants you usage within your own industry or class. What the crossover is between a reality TV show about helping small businesses and selling shoes in the NBA is for a judge to decide, I suppose.

That, or Lemonis is being facetious and just having a laugh on the internet. Who knows? Perhaps this is just PR for his show, since I’m writing about it right now?

At this point, NBA fans wholly designate TTP to the 76ers and Embiid. Maybe that will be different in the future.