Bo Jackson was a famous athlete who played both professional football and professional baseball. Jackson was well known to the public both for his unusual athletic achievements and through advertisements and endorsements, and was commonly referred to simply by his nickname “Bo” without reference to his surname. Debbie Sauer (plaintiff) sought to register the mark “Bo Ball” for an oblong-shaped, white leather ball with red stitching. Sauer’s intention was that the ball’s design should suggest a combination of a football and a baseball. The examining attorney refused the registration on the grounds that it failed under the Lanham Act’s prohibitions against registration of a mark that suggested a connotation to or used the name of a famous person not affiliated with the mark. Sauer appealed.