A report from SB Nation showed a 164 page document appearing to deny the Vegas Golden Knights trademark that was filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 23rd.
The Creator quickly responded to Channel 3’s Amber Dixon refuting the claim, and then the team put out this statement first acquired by Alex Prewitt.
When the news broke, many representatives from the organization were making appearances at Born and Raised for the premier of the Behind The Vegas Ice documentary. Everyone declined to do interviews, and the only information we were given was, “our lawyers are looking into it.”
The Las Vegas Review Journal was able to reach VP Murray Craven for this comment.
We believe, at the end of the day, all parties will embrace the fact that we are the Vegas Golden Knights and this absolutely will work out. I hope people don’t overreact to this at all. We believe everyone will be satisfied. We are only going to enhance the name Golden Knights for everyone. That’s our goal. I won’t put words in Bill Foley’s mouth, but we all believe this will be fine. -Murray Craven, Senior VP
The trademark was denied due to it’s similarity to the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights.
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. -USPTO Denial Letter
The denial basically rules that the College of Saint Rose and Vegas that proceed the words Golden Knights “does not change the overall commercial impression,” of the two names.
They go on to cite that collegiate sports and professional sports are “similar nature, both often televised, played at the same large arenas for the entertainment of the same class of consumers.” And despite the fact that the College of Saint Rose does not have, and has never had, a hockey team, their trademark is “presumed” to include all sports played at the collegiate level.
The Vegas Golden Knights have six months from the date of the denial (which is not listed) to make an argument for their trademark.
The NHL released this statement on Thursday morning…
That’s where the fact end, and here is where the blog portion of this site comes in. When this article was originally published on December 7th at 10:00 PM this was my statement.
SinBin.vegas will stick with this story and have much more when we get it, but for now know this, it’s almost certainly nothing more than a bump in the road. The chances of the team being forced to change the name remain incredibly slim.
I’m going to change my tune a little bit, so hear me out.
First off let’s make this one thing abundantly clear, I, Ken Boehlke, am NOT a trademark attorney. I did not study law, I do not particularly understand law, and honestly I am still not 100% sure what is going on here.
In this fabulous time we live in everyone likes to jump to conclusions about what was done and what should have been done as if they have a true knowledge of what actually happened.
When the Expansion Process was going on we were all crying and asking why it was taking so long. Then they got the team and everyone freaked out that it took five months to finally announce the name. Now they have a name and people wonder how they can possibly run into issues with a parachute team or a small college in Albany, New York.
I tried to do the research, and I had a hard time finding how common trademark denials are, and an even harder time finding how common reversals of denials are. I tried to compare the marks and make a judgement for myself, but quickly realized whatever decision I come to means absolutely nothing. I attempted to find similar cases, to educate myself and in turn anyone reading this, but leaned there’s no point. So I stopped, and I thought about other things I had a hard time tracking down.
Why did it take so long for them to award Las Vegas a team? How could it have possibly taken five months to come up with a team name? I remember conversations I had with friends asking ourselves all sorts of questions to which we just could not come up with rational answers. Then this happened. The trademark got denied, and it kind of all hit me.
We are dealing with incredibly smart people have a FAR greater understanding of what’s going on than we do, and more importantly, have done this before. Yet when they say it’s all going to ok and that this is not out of the ordinary, we jump all over them and for some reason believe we know better than they do.
What I do know is that we’ve been consistently told by both the league and the organization in Vegas they put in the work to ensure the name would be acceptable to use. These same people took five months to unveil that name, and they all stood on a stage together in front of 5,000 people and delivered the news. News they believed in. News they’ve since thrown millions of dollars behind, and claim is going to be fine.
Yet when one woman, who we’ve never heard of, and represents a group we previously never knew existed of says, “we’re looking into it,” we all jump ship and side with her. Then, a random attorney offers an initial ruling, in a format very few of us can even begin to understand, and his (or maybe her) word is the Gospel.
It’s time we learn from our recent history and take a different approach this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it too. Scroll back through the archives of SinBin.vegas and you’ll find numerous times I bitched and moaned about things I didn’t even begin to understand the whole story behind. And it’s not my fault, just like it’s not your’s or anyone else’s who decides to jump to a conclusion on a very complex subject that not many people in the world truly have a strong knowledge on.
Stop trying to act as if you know the legal rules behind all of this and just be confused. It’s fine. We aren’t stupid.
What’s stupid is putting the two logos side by side and making a judgement for yourself. What’s stupid is scrolling through previous trademark cases acting like we have any clue what in the hell they actually say. What’s stupid is declaring that you absolutely know that this will turn out one way or the other.
My original statement was foolish. I do NOT know that this is just a blip on the radar. I do NOT know if they will have to change, or alter, the name and logos. Because quite frankly, I do NOT know a damn thing about the trademark laws of the United States.
What I do know is that people who have put in the work are telling me it’s not going to change. People who have been there, done that, and know the iceberg is 10,000 feet deep despite the fact that we can only see the 100 feet sticking out above the water.
Don’t form an opinion on a group of facts that’s far short of the whole story. And don’t waste your time trying to educate yourself on a field that’s ridiculously boring and totally unrelated to the reason why you are here. We’re here to be fans of hockey. To be fans of (Las) Vegas hockey. Not to become trademark attorneys.
So don’t try to be an expert. Don’t go trying to educate yourself through Google searches on a topic brilliant people can’t even grasp after years of studying. And don’t go picking fights about a subject deep down you really could not care less about.
Listen to what’s said, consider who’s saying it, and keep waiting until there’s more information to go off. Rather than form an opinion in which the human in you will inevitably want to prove is the right one…
Just be confused on this one and save your opinions for something you actually do actually care about.
This is getting interesting, the whole naming processes has been a debacle and utter failure.
Hahahahahaha. Oh my god. All those years I have been telling people that Las Vegas is ready to be a major league city is blowing up in my face. Foley is quickly becoming a joke. Perhaps I should try to get that Ducks jersey back that I donated months ago before I knew how little respect Foley had for the local fans.
Little known fact. Foley is a Ducks fan. Seems like he is copying the Eisner naming plan to a T.
Failure for sure. How embarrassing. Nothing can go right for this group. This is an NHL team? Is this really happening? Who does Foley have as counsel where this could happen? Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons? This isn’t just a bump in the road, this is carelessness and not doing the process properly. If the trademark wasn’t 100% finalized, why did he move forward? And this is only about the team’s terrible name. Is this a sign of things to come for arguably more important processes with the team and the league? Wow.
Well said. Totally agree. What really troubles me is that he can’t even keep his own stories straight. Remember when he said there 16,000 season seat holders and a waiting list? Then that changed to having a 10 percent attrition rate and suddenly he says there’s 12000 season ticket holders. Uhhhhh….that math doesn’t work Bill. Then the number is suddenly 13800. Then today it’s “no the trademark wasn’t denied”. Then the team says “we will appeal”. Just stop talking Bill because everytime you open your mouth your credibility gets less and less. This is a disaster in the making because he fails to be honest. I have a suspicion that after a five game losing streak he is going to go into the locker and try to rally his warriors. He will then also tell McPhee how to start doing his job too. Is Bill participating in mock drafts really a good thing? Does he really watch games so closely that he should have input on that at all? He just doesn’t seem like a guy that will stay out of the way. He thinks he knows how to run a franchise but yet all signs point to disaster right now, including a stupid projection of winning a cup in 6 years. Being successful in the business world doesn’t automatically translate to the sports world.
Is it just me, but isn’t it strange that there aren’t any billboards around town promoting the team? No commercials airing either? Can’t tell me it’s too soon when training camp is about 9 months away. Just seems like it’s really being done half assed from the promotions side of things.
After several rounds of voting we are pleased to announce that a goal song has been selected.
” it’s almost certainly nothing more than a bump in the road. The chances of the team being forced to change the name remain incredibly slim.”
My sweet sweet Ken, how kind of you to continue the spin machine.
This is the bottom line in my view.
Foley MUST reach an agreement with Saint Rose, failure to do so will mean a name change. Whatthat takes is literally up to Saint Rose, if smart it will mean millions a year.
Should Foley be arrogant enough to fore go their approval and just fight the finding with evidence he will lose. That could drag out months and we will end up with a nameless NHL team in the summer.
Best bet is sure up the Desert Knights mark and rename asap. Sell even more merch and move on.
May I add….
Their logo is still awaiting examination, imagine a world in which that was denied as well because odds are now heavily it will be. I mean it only copies 150 different teams, the V is unoriginal etc. If the other mark as denied then the logo is a shoe in for denial.
not sure I agree. While this has indeed been handled very poorly by the Foley crew and the NHL. The current problem is the wordmark. After looking at the two in question, one has to wonder where the examining attorney found any fault. Vegas’ wordmark has VEGAS as the dominant feature while Saint Rose has GOLDEN KNIGHTS as its dominant feature. Saint Rose also has a Knight included in it’s wordmark as well as the text. Vegas does not. They look absolutely nothing alike and I have a hard time believing that anyone would confuse the two, so I’d feel pretty good about Foley’s chances of getting this reversed.
As for Saint Rose wanting millions a year, that seems far-fetched. If they were able to clear it with Clarkson, there probably wouldn’t be much issue with clearing it with Saint Rose. Oh yeah, might want to clear it with the Army parachute team, too. Not sure why all this wasn’t done already. talk about not doing due diligence… jesus.
That said, naming the team the more original Desert or Silver Knights would have avoided all of this mess. Now, the team has egg on its face (again).
Todd, the stated finding forces Foley to get a co agreement or fight for reversal. Reversal on the grounds he stated are laughable. Saint Rose certainly deserves millions a year to allow someone to use their mark/permission. We are talking about a $500M+++ investment if not worth a fraction of a percent a year I dont know what is.
totally get that, Garry., and your point about Saint Rose deserving something is valid. I just think there is more room to come to an agreement than you do maybe.
i Like I said in my first post, I think getting a reversal is very possible as the marks don’t really look anything alike to my eyes. They similarities are a stretch. I’m certainly not a trademark attn., but I’m not blind either. Imho the examining attorney must of been high when he reviewed the two marks. And I coming at this as a Panther fan not a biased Vegas fan. I don’t have a dog in this fight, just looking at this logically.
I suppose another thing they can try to do is revise the wordmark and resubmit the trademark application so they wouldn’t have to get the co-agreement with Saint Rose or have to fight for the reversal.
This situation is reminding me a little bit of Kansas City’s NHL’s expansion team in the mid 1970’s. Was originally supposed to be the Mohawks, Blackhawks objected (Nighthawks anyone?) and they ended up being the Scouts. But the Scouts never made Mohawks merch and started selling it before having a trademark like Vegas has done. No bueno…
Remember Jaguar going after Jacksonville in the NFL for their original logo and trademarks too. Merch was already being sold and they had to do a reversal before they started play. And that was just bad decision #1 for that mess of a team that continues to present day.
Bad decisions and bad management do not equal success for a franchise in the long run. Not good if he thinks he can run the stop sign on these very important processes. His poor decisions are making the team look like a joke.
So now the NHL is making a statement, they believe because other teams get to use similar names etc they should too, lol great response NHL, you lose. You cannot ignore someones trademark because ” I want it and so and so got away with it”.
There are 3 issues still as I see it.
1. If NHL fights for reversal and or fails to get an agreement with Saint Rose in the months that come (it will take this long if they fight for reversal) what happens when they lose and have a no name team in the summer? BAD gamble here folks, bad gamble.
2.The Army has yet to rear its head and that too can stop it since the lawyer at the patent office states “it does not need to be of similar use to confuse”
3.Their logo is still being examined what will happen when that is rejected?
Bottom line NHL, change the name and FAST! They didn’t pursue the other marks/names for no reason and must have multiple logos to use ready. jmo
guess the bottom line of sorting this out will dictate what happens. Seems like switching from Golden to Desert would be the easiest thing to do if this situation gets too hairy or expensive. You can still use the same, colors, logo, sweaters etc. Just need to change the wordmark to Desert.
Hard to believe that this is happening. smh…
Please allow me to sum this up in two words:
Good time at B.A.R. last night!
Ken, there is way too much overreaction to this. Could the trademark become a potential problem if this ends up in the courts? Yes. But right now, I am on the same page with you. That would be a wait and see scenario. And also that many people even here or whom have tweeted with you think they are legal experts at trademarks and registrations of names and logo need to just chill out and actually do research first before making assumptions. One would think with all those powerful lawyers that the NHL has, they would not be that stupid to allow a name and logo to go forward without all the trademarks and registrations taken care of.
Now what I do find interesting is this. Make note of it, too. Notice in all of the trademarks that are either live or dead, the College of Saint Rose supposedly renewed theirs 3 days AFTER the Las Vegas NHL team announced their name and logo identity. Something seems fishy to me there. One could conclude they renewed that quickly to try making a few extra bucks from Bill Foley to gain permission for using the Golden Knights name and logos? Who knows.
The bottom line is, it would take A LOT to happen for there to be a name and even a logo change before the franchise begins playing next October. And I’m sure the NHL wants to avoid a PR disaster over this. So I’m not sold that suddenly we will see a different name and logo with this franchise in the near future.
chances are vastly in favor that things will get worked out and the team will stay the Golden Knights.
Just like everyone wants lol
I mean just that one guy who’s vote counted…. everyone else voted Desert or Silver. So end of day yes every ONE person will be happy.
We’re probably stuck with the name but no matter how this turns out it’s been horrible for the franchise. This team should be building momentum this whole year leading up to the drafts but now that’s been killed because we’re stuck talking endlessly about a name most of us hate. We don’t even get the chance to let the name grow on us and get used to it because now there’s a tiny glimmer of hope that it might be somehow changed.
If it does end up getting changed talk about an all-time embarrassment. Sad thing is this could have all been avoided if he: 1) Let the locals have a voice in the name. 2) Wasn’t so damn stubborn about the name Knights 3) He tried try to work something out with the Canadian junior team (which it sounds like they never made any effort to do so). If you have to go with a stupid adjective then go with Desert or Silver. The Army you love so much and have so much respect for (justifiably so) feels disrespected on some level so you can’t even pay proper tribute without dropping the ball. Thank god for the logos, for now anyway, he probably screwed that up somehow too. For Christ sake he could have let SinBin handle the whole naming affair for a fraction of the price and much much better results I’m sure. Amateur hour all around this is why the NHL is 4th place among the major US sports leagues.