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Gabby Douglas

College Kid Took My Nickname

8/18/2012 5:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

If Gabby Douglas wants to cash in on her "Flying Squirrel" nickname ... she's gonna have to battle a college kid who locked up the trademark while Gabby was still competing in the Olympics.

TMZ has learned ... Fordham University business student A.J. Rotonde filed to trademark the phrase on August 6 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for a mere $325.

Rotonde tells us he decided to scoop up Gabby's handle after watching her destroy the competition in London.

A.J. has NO connection to Gabby or U.S. gymnastics, but tells us he plans to slap "Flying Squirrel" on T-shirts and other merchandise -- but before he cashes in the USPTO has to approve his application ... which could take several months.

Gabby can still challenge A.J.'s filing and apply to trademark the phrase herself.

A.J. tells us he'd be happy to sell the TM back to the gymnast ... for the right price, of course.

We called Gabby's camp to see if she's going to go for the block -- but so far, no response.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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This guy is an idiot who thinks he is smart.

742 days ago


No different than the forward-thinking people who used to lock up popular URL names when the internet was first getting started. I'm sure for a price he'll release the TM to her. That is one smart business student. Maybe not the most ethical thing but since when has business been ethical?

742 days ago


Id like to see how the actual flying squirrels feel about this seeing as how they technically had the name before Gabby or the D-bag trying to make money off of her and the flying squirrels.

742 days ago


The audacity, arrogance and selfishness you have shown A.J. should be rewarded and it will be for sure. A predator like you who sits waiting to steal others success is always going down. You are an ass of the first magnitude and kind of creepy too.

742 days ago

Scott Christopher     

A.J. is an ass!
if gabby fights it she will win.
by the time the license is approved "flying squirrel" will mean nothing without her pic and her approval.
he wasted 325.00.
what a loser-trying to get one on a 16 yo sports superstar!
karma is a bitch!

742 days ago

Dave Gershenson    

They all might want to check out the Richmond Flying Squirrels minor league baseball team on that trademark issue...been around for several years.

742 days ago


this is why business ethics needs to be taught in colleges-this is an unethical move--i think i will get out my voo-doo powers and fix this kid now.

742 days ago

arale norimaki    

Ellis Coleman

As Coleman descended behind the other wrestler's shoulder, he grabbed him around the chest and took him down. In a sport that doesn't get a lot of mainstream attention, Coleman provided just that.

"It's my nickname ("Flying Squirrel), and I kind of go with it wherever I go. And I actually bought a pet flying squirrel," Coleman said at a news conference Wednesday.

The pet squirrel is in Colorado Springs, where he trains, and is named Rocky. Coleman said he bought him for about $500.

"Some company came into the mall we were at in Colorado Springs, and they were selling them. And I had to buy one," said Coleman, who is from Oak Park, Ill.

So where do you keep a flying squirrel?

"I keep him in a cage," Coleman said. "He just hops around all the time."

742 days ago

Rico Suavy    

I like flying Beaver better.

742 days ago


i'm sorry, but you shouldn't be able to trademark words .... it's ridiculous. flying squirrel was pretty derogatory to ms. douglas anyway - she doesn't need it.

742 days ago


The guy sounds like a douchebag. He clearly trademarked the name in hopes Gabby will buy the name back. Lame.

742 days ago

buzz kill    

Rocky and Bullwinkle are going to be pizzed.

742 days ago

♥TMZ but ...    

why would she want that nicname anyway there is nothing appealing about it

742 days ago


People do this all the time. The minute something sounds popular they will buy a web domain and/or copyright and sell it to those who want to use it. They'll ask for insane amounts of money for them as well. And it's ridiculous. Not surprised to find out this guy is a business student. Must have realized it's easier to catch a flying saucer than it is to get a job in that field.

742 days ago


just put "flyin'"

742 days ago
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