The NHL and the Black Knights Sports and Entertainment group will be responding to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s denial of the “Vegas Golden Knights” trademark.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement Thursday morning during their Board of Governors meetings that they will be providing evidence for their case to the USPTO before the June 7, 2017 deadline. Their response will be centered around the precedent set for coexisting names in sports, such as the UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins.
"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."
A USPTO document obtained by SB Nation on Wednesday evening detailed the reasons for the trademark’s rejection, all stemming from the similarity of the logo and name to that of the Division II school, the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights in New York.
While the name “Golden Knights” is a big part of the discrepancy, the stylization of Vegas’ logo is also in contention with the United States government. Though you may not see that much of a similarity between the Vegas mark and the College of Saint Rose’s, the marks only need to be related in some manner that could cause confusion for consumers.
US Patent & Trademark Office has initially rejected Vegas Golden Knights trademark based on confusion with St. Rose College's trademark pic.twitter.com/Dg7DmtkUfo— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 8, 2016
This isn’t the first time the “Golden Knights” name has come under scrutiny, as the Army announced last week that they were “reviewing” the name because Vegas shares it with their parachute team. The name “Knights” also had its own problems, as the London Knights of the OHL own the rights to that name and logo setup. Clarkson University’s Golden Knights, a private university in New York, shares the name with Vegas as well, but was cleared by team owner Bill Foley.
Foley also filed for trademarks for two other names besides Golden Knights — Silver Knights and Desert Knights — before the unveiling of the name on Nov. 22.
In all likelihood, the NHL and Vegas will win the trademark dispute with their evidence of precedent for coexisting team names. In the case that they do not, the NHL will at worst strike a deal with Saint Rose, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
Vegas and the Black Knights Sports and Entertainment group “may respond to the refusal by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration” within the next six months.