Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Name game

Alternative title: Give me back my trademark!

According to the Associated Press:

The retailing arm of Major League Baseball sued a company on Monday that claims it owns trademark rights to the name Washington Nationals.The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan said Bygone Sports LLC tried to "turn a quick, undeserved profit" by seeking trademark registration rights to the club's name, even though it has been used for decades to refer to Washington teams.
Major League Baseball Properties Inc. and Baseball Expos L.P. asked the court to declare that the trademark does not belong to the company because its sole purpose in filing for a trademark was to capitalize on the naming of the new baseball team.

I only took one intellectual property course, and my memory is a bit fuzzy sometimes; on the other hand, Sports Law Blog hasn't weighed in, and my memory isn't that fuzzy. In a word, Bygone Sports LLC ain't cool. In another word, Bygone Sports LLC doesn't stand much of a shot here, unless it gets smart and just settles.

The entire basis of intellectual property law in the United States is undergirded a few principles, which might be summarized as creativity, transformation, and reasonable protection and compensation of ownership rights. Generally speaking, you can't just select a trademark, sit on it, and use it for strong-arming purposes like this. It's lazy; it's stifling; it's unreasonable. The article tells us little of Bygone's intentions other than to make a quick profit, so I can't read much more into the situation.

This begs the question of whether MLB surrendered the Washington Nationals mark in the first place. (I recall articles from last fall to the effect that the Washington Senators mark is owned by Tom Hicks, who owns the Texas Rangers---and, in turn, whose soul is owned by Scott Boras, I suppose.) I can't say; usually, protecting 30-plus years of inactivity (more than that, I suppose) is kind of a waste. I recall a case out of the Second Circuit that involved the use of the name "The Brooklyn Dodger"---a restaurant in Brooklyn, naturally. MLB argued that the Los Angeles Dodgers' ownership (or MLB's own licensing wing; I can't remember) owned the trademark for all purposes and for perpetuity. The court held that it had surrendered several sticks in its "bundle of rights" of ownership, so to speak, and that the restaurant could go on using the name, insofar as it didn't make money off of old Brooklyn Dodgers' pennants or clothing or anything like that.

I'll have to look the case up later, because no doubt I misrepresented some portions of the facts or the law, but you get the drift. This case is different; to our knowledge (addressed above), Bygone Sports isn't doing anything creative or utilitarian with the name "Washington Nationals" except trying to make a quick buck. It will, upon a settlement, as long as it doesn't get greedier:

Although it believed it had primary ownership of the rights, the baseball retailing representative for all major league teams sought to settle the issue to avoid litigation costs, the lawsuit said. After extensive negotiations, an agreement was reached to transfer all rights in exchange for $130,000 in cash, a $10,000 credit at mlb.com store and four tickets to Opening Day 2005 for the new Washington team, the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, Bygone changed its demands to more than $1 million, including a base amount of $495,000 plus a variety of World Series and All-Star game tickets.

Hey, if you can see Ichiro! live, why not, right?

Comments:
I mentioned this in my own puny Nationals blog--in short, unless they actually made (and sold) shirts/shorts/some form of clothing with "Washington Nationals" on them, they appear to have no case.

It seems like they got a pretty good deal, if only they hadn't botched it by demanding more.
 
Good analysis, Gray. And a good point, too. No clothing (or collectible paraphenalia, I guess) = no creative use = just sitting on the thing.

Nice blog, btw. I hadn't noticed it before, though it looks pretty recent. I'll update my links tonight or so and throw yours up there.

(PS: You a lawyer?)
 
Not a lawyer, but in the job that I am presumably performing during the day, I do a lot of patent work--no legal advice, technically, but patent searches and (not legally binding) recommendations on IP strategies and that sort of thing. And hey, I posted something that was actually work-related, and actually a good exercise in the kind of stuff I need to know...

Oh, and their trademark was only for use on clothing, unless they filed others that aren't yet published. This is certainly possible, given how quickly such things are published, but remember that filing a trademark means nothing in the grand scheme of things if you haven't actually used it.

If I recall correctly, I just started this blog yesterday, and it already has far too many posts. Thanks for adding me to your links. There seems to be a pretty small set of Nationals blogs, but definitely some good ones in there (yours included).
 
If you check the patent and trademark office database, you can see that Bygone Sports registered the trademark in 2002 (before the name Washington Nationals was a glint in Bud Selig's eye).

The guy who runs Bygone Sports seems to license his trademarks to other people who make apparel. It seems he also owns trademarks to the New York Knights (of "the Natural" fame) and some Negro League teams.

I agree with Gray completely on his legal analysis, but I think Major League Baseball shares some of the blame for this for not researching the intellectual property rights before they named the team.
 
Ask and it shall be given unto you. Appararel (o.k. a shirt) can be oredered from www.washingtonnationalsapparel.com
 
Hi, I was just blog surfing and found you! If you are interested, go see my Hero Posters related blog. It isn't anything special but you may still find something of interest.
 
And A Link Back To Your Web Site Excite You?
 
very true!!!!!! www.theoriginb2.co.uk
 
Thanks to Name game for creating a user friendly blog when we can all learn more about free daily basketball picks from Blogger. This is a great place to start from the novice to the expert and as this site grows, we can only benefit from content about free daily basketball picks and other realted topics.
 
Thanks to Name game for creating a user friendly blog when we can all learn more about mlb stats from Blogger. This is a great place to start from the novice to the expert and as this site grows, we can only benefit from content about mlb stats and other realted topics.
 
Hey, I love your blog! Very interesting information! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a NFL football jersey site. It pretty much covers NFL football jersey related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
 
WOW....Do you know or have you ever heard of Gotting Money from personal grants ..If you are interested in finding out how to get more info on personal grants visit us at http://allgrants4u.com... There are so many things you can get grants for.. Homes, school, work, business, college..ect.. Find out how everybody is getting money from personal grants today... Quit living in poverty educate yourself and improve your life..
 
Over 120 of the nations best plays are available Free on this blog daily. If you would like to learn how the professionals make money for a living while actually providing a service about internet baseball betting and other related topics, visit us often. This bog, Name game and others like it provide a forum for all who wish to learn more about subjects like internet baseball betting and more. Blogger has done a great job laying the groundwork and this is the place to be!
 
Thanks a lot to Blogger for allowing sports enthusiasts to post information on baseball betting final. Name game is a great place to visit and we appreciate the chance to provide Free Daily Picks (1-866-Coach36) and a way to receive a Free Total Sports Consensus for Free! Free Trials available to all new clients also! Try us out! You'll love the information available for free!
 
I was searching blogs for trademark application and found your entry” Name game Its not a perfect match but Tis the season! So I thought I would write. There is lot of info on Embroidery stuff out there. I have been looking to add content to our site about Patterns and Sewing. If you have any good resources please share -- feel free to take a look at our site at trademark application
I just read your blog entry - Name game -- my partner and I are planning on setting up a review website – it will live on the home page of our site trademark application. I am looking for versatility in embroidery machine and setup a comparison. If you can help with any insight or direction that would be great. I am also would like to hear about Academy's courses with hands-on embroidery that people have taken.
I just found your blog entry -- Name game -- I am starting my own blog – you find frequently updated news, commentary, and the latest links about graduate school for applicants, current graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. trademark application If you come across any timely links or stories of interest to applicants, students, and faculty, share them with me -- so I can share them with all of our readers. Please visit us trademark application
 
The actual timeline is such that Bygone didn't file on the Nationals name until after it was public knowledge that the Expos were going to move. Granted, no location was known at the time, but Bygone took a gamble and then sat on the name. I firmly believe the federal courts will recognize this for what it is: trademark squatting. So...bye, bye, Bygone!
 
Your blog is great This may be of interest to you to check out these collectible sports memorabilia items - Autographed Sports Collectible
 
Best lines, best stats, best sportsbook bonus offers AND a Free Sports Consensus Trial from the leader in sports handicapping. Top Poker sites, predictive software for all major sports, and the best in baseball betting! Visit us today, you'll be glad you did!
 
I have been following a site now for almost 2 years and I have found it to be both reliable and profitable. They post daily and their stock trades have been beating
the indexes easily.

Take a look at Wallstreetwinnersonline.com

RickJ
 
Hi Friend! You have a great blog over here!
Please accept my compliments and wishes for your happiness and success!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site:
games center
It covers games center related subjects.
Have a great day!
 
Hello,
Without much luck, I was searching for blogs about Toys & Hobbies when I happened across yours. It's a cool blog. Evidently you like telling it like it is! I have a really great ebay website that is easy to use that you may like. If you get a chance, check it out www.licensedbrandsclub.com.
 
Hi Friend! You have a great blog over here!
Please accept my compliments and wishes for your happiness and success!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my toyota financing site.
Have a great day!
 
Hey, Great blog you have here. When you get a chance, come check out my site on Garden Trees www.garden-trees.com
 
I was searching blogs,and I found yours.Please,
accept my congratulations for your excellent work!
If you have a moment, please visit my tucows free screensavers site.
Have a good day!
 
great topic, keep up the great posts, MMA
 
Hi Blogger, I found your blog quite informative.
I just came across your blog and wanted to
drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with it.
I give you my best wishes for your future endeavors.
If you have a moment, please visit my make money taking surveys site.
Have a great week!
 
This is a great product for anyone with curly, wavy, or frizzy hair, it works

wonders!! my hair is like all three and its AMAZING! my hair is soo shiny and there is no frizz at all! My waves look gorgeous :) and it has a great hold but it doesnt weigh your hair down or anything! Its

soo touchable and beautiful!! A MUST-HAVE!! :)
 
I have natural ethnic hair (very curly and thick, but not course). I transitioned from braids to a natural style using Moroccan Oil Intense Curl Creme. I love this product. My hair

stays very hydrated, and I can create a variety of natural styles using the Intense Curl. I also take my product to my hair stylist. She also loves the product. There are no artificial chemicals, and is very

safe on natural hair.
 
I use this for a looser curl and it works well. I like Moroccan Oil products and this is a solid one. It hasn't been life changing and I haven't used it

alone to really see what it does but it works well with the David Babaii Bohemian Beach Spray for nice loose curl.
 
This is the best thing ever!! I live in FLorida where it is hot and humid....I have no air

conditioning in my car so I have to drive with the windows down...I have very curly, thick, and out of control hair...with all these elements it is hard to find something to make my hair stay straight. This

worked...I drove on the highway with my windows down in nice hot humid weather and it is still as perfect as when I straightened it 2 days ago!! Buy this product it is worth the money!!!
 
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?