'Two Thumbs Up' a Trademarked Phrase... Seriously

So the news is out. Ebert and Roeper are leaving "Ebert & Roeper."

But the detail that caught my eye is that Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel had the foresight to trademark the phrase "Two Thumbs Up," made famous on "At the Movies with Siskel & Ebert."

Ebert has said that he and Siskel's widow plan to find some new outlet for the thumbs, but hey Roger WTF?

"Two Thumbs Up" trademarked? What about "One Thumb Up" or "Two Thumbs Down"? I couldn't find any information on the latter phrases' trademark statuses, but it makes you wonder how aggressively Ebert is willing to protect that trademark.

Obviously the main purpose of the trademark is to prevent ABC from cloning the show after Ebert's exit, but look at the implications. That trademark effectively prevents any other movie critic from ever giving any movie "Two Thumbs Up."

Thankfully most critics have found their own creative movie rating systems (check out the Scene-Stealers Rock Fist if you have a chance), but it's interesting food for thought.
I write about movies for Zimbio.com, which means I spend way too much time thinking about the geekiest possible ways to approach the cineplex. I'm also hopelessly addicted to audio books. Follow me: Google