'Sabermetrics' won't be trademarked
Marketing firm withdraws application for Bill James' phrase
The widely used baseball term "sabermetrics" will not be trademarked, and will instead remain in the public domain.
The marketing firm that tried to trademark it, Deep Focus Inc., withdrew its application Wednesday following opposition from the Society of American Baseball Research, according to a joint statement posted on SABR.org on Monday.
SABR, which said statistician Bill James coined "sabermetrics" in 1980, filed a request for extension of time to file an opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 6, thinking Deep Focus wanted to control all usage of the word.
SABR then found out that wasn't the objective, but is nonetheless happy with the end result.
"We now understand that there was no intent to restrict free use of the word," SABR executive director John Zajc said in a statement, "and we are glad that they respect that free use of the word benefits everyone."
Most Major League teams currently use sabermetrically derived statistics as part of their player evaluations, and players, team executives, the media and fans alike frequently use the term.
In addition, "sabermetrics" has expanded as a generic term to describe the application of mathematical and statistical reasoning to a problem -- a method that has been taught at colleges such as Columbia University, Bowling Green State University, the United States Military Academy and others, according to the release.
"The intent to use the term 'sabermetrics' was solely to describe our approach to evaluating engagement within social media, and not to own the term outright," Deep Focus' chief executive officer Ian Schafer said in a statement. "In no way did we mean to restrict others' use of the word. We are fans of the game and fans of the sabermetric approach of statistical evaluation. We owe great thanks to Bill James and other sabermetricians for inspiring us to think more objectively about performance."
Deep Focus is "a leading full-service interactive marketing agency focused on measurable, results-driven engagement," the release stated.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.