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NHL Expansion Team Faces Trademark Fight

The newest National Hockey League team – the Vegas Golden Knights – is facing a legal battle before its first puck even drops on the ice.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued an Office Action refusing the team’s trademark registration, citing a likelihood of confusion with the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights,

The franchise (which is already selling merchandise with its name and logo) has six months to respond to the Office Action and does not plan to change its name.

From ESPN.com:

“We consider this a routine matter and it is not our intention to reconsider the name or logo of this franchise,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Thursday. “We fully intend to proceed as originally planned, relying on our common law trademark rights as well as our state trademark registrations while we work through the process of addressing the question raised in the federal applications.”

The United States Army has also signaled its opposition to the “Golden Knights” moniker.  The Army’s demonstration parachute team has been known as the Golden Knights since 1962, but the name was never protected by federal trademark law.

From the Washington Post:

“For us, the bottom line is the (perceived) connection between the Army and the professional sports team,” [Army spokesperson Alison] Bettencourt said, declining to answer whether the Army will ask the Vegas Golden Knights to change their name before the military’s review is completed. “Our interest in this announcement is meant to protect the proud history of the Army’s Golden Knights and their vital role in telling the Army story and connecting America with their Army,” Bettencourt told the [Fayetteville] Observer.

For comparison, the Columbus Blue Jackets own numerous trademarks, including registrations for CBJBlue JacketsLet Fandom RingWe Are The 5th Line and a team logo featuring a cannon.

#intellectualproperty #sportslaw #trademark

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