U.S. Army goes after Vegas Golden Knights over trademark applica - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

U.S. Army goes after Vegas Golden Knights over trademark application

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The logo of the Vegas Golden Knights, which was revealed during a naming ceremony on Nov. 22, 2016. (Source: NHL) The logo of the Vegas Golden Knights, which was revealed during a naming ceremony on Nov. 22, 2016. (Source: NHL)

The U.S. Army is declaring war on the Vegas Golden Knights over their trademark application! The Army filed a notice of opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights' name, claiming the name is associated with their military branch.

The Army has a parachute team that also goes by the Golden Knights. Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley went to West Point and General Manager George McPhee even references the connection in the video they used to introduce the Vegas Golden Knights to the world.

“We wanted a unique identity and Bill is very fond of West Point and the Black Knight,” Mcphee said in the video.

“Bill told us this story about the origins of the Black Knight mascot for West Point which are sort of grounded in this first true knight of valor,” Adidas Design Director Jeff Eagles added in the video.

In September 2017, the Army made its opposition clear to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office opened a thirty-day window for anyone to oppose, and the Army was given an extension until January 10th.

In a notice of opposition filed Wednesday, the Army claims the Golden Knights name and color scheme would confuse people and lead them to believe the Army and the NHL team are affiliated with each other. They said they have “common law rights in color scheme black+gold/yellow+white.”

Intellectual property law expert and Partner at Howard & Howard Law Firm, West Allen said this is a classic trademark dispute in which the Army will have to prove likelihood of confusion.

If they can show that consumers, in fact, are confused between the two things then that could be a problem but it's probably unlikely,” Allen said, “Because the National Hockey League and all the teams under the National Hockey League spend so much on branding, and they are so highly visible, it's probably unlikely that there will be a showing of the likely hood of confusion among consumers, that a consumer will think that the hockey team is sponsored by the Army or that the Army is now somehow affiliated with the hockey team.”

The Vegas Golden Knights responded with this statement from Vice President of Communications and Content Eric Tosi:

"In the Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Army filed its opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights’ applications to register the trademark VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS used in connection with the sport of hockey. We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team. Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game. That said, in light of the pending trademark opposition proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time and will address the Army’s opposition in the relevant legal forums."

“In this case, it's probably not likely that consumers are going to think an Army parachute team is the same thing as a national hockey team,”  Allen said.

Allen explained that this notice of opposition is not a lawsuit that would stop the Vegas Golden Knights from using the name, it’s more of a way to try and keep them from trademarking it. There are two schools that have trademarked “Golden Knights,” UCF and The College of St. Rose. The College of St. Rose also opposed the Vegas Golden Knights’ trademark, and they've been granted a second 60-day extension.

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