NHL club Vegas Golden Knights – name change coming up?

 In The Trademark Thermometer, Trademark, Trademark law, U.S. Trademark Office

The 22th of November 2016, the upcoming NHL club Vegas Golden Knights’ name and logo was unveiled with glitter and tinsel. Their logo with a knight’s helmet adorned by a ”V” in the middle was presented with great fanfare on the famous Vegas strip. Since then, the new NHL club has already sold souvenirs with a value of more than $500,000.

But the shimmering joy didn’t last long. Just a few weeks after Vegas Golden Knights revealed its name and logo the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled the name being too similar to the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights, a small NCAA Div. II team who has a registered trademark in the US since 2004.

”In this case, the marks are identical in part, sharing the same dominant wording and overall commercial impression” – was stated in the rejection of the application.

On top of this, another college team from Clarkson University and also the US Army elite parachute team share the same name – Golden Knights.

NHL Enterprises filed applications for the trademark Golden Knights with the US Patent and Trademark Office on Aug. 23, 2016 – but it had not yet been registered when the name was revealed in November. Bill Foley, lead investor for the new NHL club, explained that his franchise received permission from the Clarkson University Golden Knights to use the name. However, they forgot to obtain the same permission from the Army and College of Saint Rose Golden Knights.

Now, Vegas Golden Knights has until June 2017 to respond to the provisional refusal and get the US Patent and Trademark Office to reconsider the verdict. One possible solution is that the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights accept to share the name. If not, the upcoming NHL club must present a new name and logo. If that happens, the new NHL club will have to start the process once again to find a new name, pay for new trademark registrations and put more money into marketing the new name. All work they have done for their old name will be wasted and in the end NHL Enterprises will get a financial setback.

This is only one of many unfortunate results that a poorly performed trademark process might lead to.


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