SABR Opposes Trademark of “Sabermetrics”

On January 6, 2010, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) filed a Request for Extension of Time to File an Opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to oppose the request by marketing firm Deep Focus, Inc. to trademark the term “sabermetrics.” SABR is strongly against trademarking the term. “We believe sabermetrics is a generic term and should remain in the public domain,” says SABR Executive Director John Zajc. “SABR is part of a larger movement toward open source sharing of information. Having a private company own a federal trademark registration for a term in common use in our industry is not in line with that philosophy.”

Sabermetrics was coined by statistician Bill James, who first introduced the word to readers of his Abstract in March 1980, writing: “Sabermetrics is the mathematical and statistical analysis of baseball records.” Since that time, sabermetrics has become a ubiquitous part of the baseball landscape at all levels and by players, front office staff, the media, and fans alike. Most major league teams use sabermetrically derived statistics as part of their player evaluations. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America and others who report on baseball refer to sabermetrics and its metrics on a regular basis.

In addition, the sabermetric approach has expanded as a generic term to describe the application of mathematical and statistical reasoning to a problem. Courses, course modules, and independent study in sabermetrics are being or have been taught at a number of respected colleges and universities, among them Bowling Green State University, Columbia University Teachers College, Muhlenberg University, Seton Hall University, Tufts University, the United States Military Academy, and Williams College.