NHL Las Vegas Marketing

Whoops, NHL’s Golden Knights trademark rejected


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

December 9, 2016 | 3 min read

Remember that regal team logo that was unveiled with big fanfare on the Vegas Strip the Vegas Golden Knights? The one that was plastered all over the web and in stores from Sin City to Times Square? You can forget it, because it’s back to the drawing board for the newest NHL team.

The trademark request for the Vegas Golden Knights was denied by the US Patent and Trademark Office several short weeks after it was announced by team owner Bill Foley, according to a report on SB Nation.

A document by the Patent and Trademark Office was circulated on the web detailing the rejection of the attempted trademark, showing that the new NHL mark had too many similarities with the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights, a small college in Albany, NY.

The document stated that all trademarks are compared for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression, and that “the wording ‘GOLDEN KNIGHTS’ is the dominant portion of both the registered and applied-for marks. In the registered mark, the wording ‘GOLDEN KNIGHTS’ appears significantly larger than the subscripted additional text. Further, the ‘GOLDEN KNIGHTS’ wording is centered in the mark, and appears in the more stylized and distinctive typeface as compared to the remaining wording… Accordingly, the examining attorney finds that the marks are identical in part, sharing their most dominant and source-identifying portions, and are confusingly similar when compared in their entireties.”

Whoops. Apparently, the NHL and the team didn’t go through the entire trademark process before announcing the name and unveiling the logo. But Black Knight Sports and Entertainment group – the one owned by Foley – has a chance to argue its side before the team starts play as the NHL’s 31st team in the 2017-2018 season. It can submit arguments and evidence in support of its logo. The team has already responded with its own argument in a statement.

“There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names, including Vegas Golden Knights and Clarkson Golden Knights, UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, U of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action which must be filed by June 7, 2017.

Office actions like these are not at all unusual, and we will proceed with the help of outside counsel in preparing a response to this one.”

So if you have that brand new Golden Knights sweatshirt or jersey, you might want to keep it in the closet until they get this resolved.

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