Just weeks after the exciting nickname and logo announcement the Las Vegas NHL franchise is having trademark problems. A trademark request filed by the NHL on behalf of the Las Vegas franchise was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The reason for the denial issued in the document was “likelihood of confusion” with the NCAA’s College of St. Rose Golden Knights.
This is not the first trademark problem the newly named franchise has had. Majority owner Bill Foley wanted to name the team the Black Knights but received push back from the United States Military Academy. Then his second choice “Knights” was shot down because of the Ontario Hockey Leagues London Knights.
On August 23, 2016 the franchise and NHL Enterprises filed applications to trademark the names “Golden Knights”, “Silver Knights” and “Desert Knights”.
If they are forced to change the selected Golden Knights nickname it will be very interesting to see what happens with the preexisting merchandise. In the weeks following the announcement the team has reported over $500,000 in merchandise sales.
The NHL weighed in on the topic today releasing the following Press Release:
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BILL DALY STATEMENT
REGARDING VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS TRADEMARK
NEW YORK (December 8, 2016) — National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding the office actions issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the applications to register the name Vegas Golden Knights:
“We are currently reviewing the Trademark Office’s letter and will prepare a detailed response demonstrating why we continue strongly to believe the Vegas Golden Knights mark should be registered in co-existence with the college registration, just as a number of other nicknames currently co-exist in professional and college sports (particularly where there is no overlap as to the sport for which the nickname is being used). That response is not due until June 7, 2017.
“We consider this a routine matter and it is not our intention to reconsider the name or logo of this franchise. 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.”