Posts in Trademarks
US Army Wades Into Battle With Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Las Vegas Golden Knights haven’t had a whole lot of problems in their unprecedentedly successful inaugural season.

Since 1960, none of the 64 expansion teams to launch in the NHL, NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball managed so much as a winning season. Then, the Knights came along winning the Pacific Division, posting a .655 winning percentage, and sweeping their first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings...

... But their toughest battle may be off the ice.

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Game of Amateurs, Season 148, Episode 9: Battle of the OSUs

I know what you are thinking. "Why would I care about anything related to Ohio State?" Ok, my Wolverine ego may be slightly kidding, but in all seriousness, this trademark question is significant because the outcome can affect other universities. For example, what if in addition to the list of registered marks like the Standalone Block M, the University of Michigan attempted to file an application for "U of M" or "UM" to be a federal registered trademark (®) rather than asserting that it is merely a protected trademark that is not registered (™)?

In a world where college athletics is undeniably a business - a BIG business, at that - and where the NCAA itself has trouble justifying its own regulations, laying down the law on who can do what actions (that, FYI, all come down to making money) and where they can or cannot do those actions lawfully will have inevitable consequences. For those of you who have not heard, Ohio State filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for "OSU" to receive federal trademark protection back in February. Specifically, Ohio State wants to register its trademark to protect against unlawful uses on apparel. Each portion of the application information below is meaningful. So, take note, because we will define trademarks, draw out their metes and bounds, speculate on why Ohio State would file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and demonstrate how the Battle of the OSUs can impact the business of college athletics.

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Reader Q&A: The Michigan-Nike Sponsorship Contract

The University of Michigan is one of the member institutions in the college athletics groups commonly referred to as the "$100 Million Club," an elite group of schools that generate at least $100,000,000 in annual revenue. A large portion of that revenue comes from athletic sponsorship deals with apparel and equipment suppliers. When the university entered into an athletic sponsorship agreement with adidas that began in 2007, it was not a member of the $100 Million Club. As the contract term progressed, Michigan broke the lofty threshold and continues to do so as its contractual relationship with adidas comes to an end. The deal with adidas was the most lucrative contract at its time, and the deal with Nike was also the most lucrative in college athletics until Nike decided to pay a bit more to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

For me, Michigan's relationship with Nike is a return to all that is good. I grew up wearing my maize and blue Michigan swag with the symbolic swoosh in some visible place. So, when the adidas contract kicked in gear my freshman year, I refused to buy new apparel adidas made with the exception of the annual football t-shirt and, eventually, my NFLPA-licensed #10 Tom Brady jersey. Nike is the big dog in the athletic apparel industry, and it only seemed right that Nike and Michigan, a big dog in college sports, work together.

You asked, and I'll answer. The fun does not stop there, though. This Question and Answer session on this significant contract can show how the sponsorship market has evolved and where changes in the current NCAA "collegiate model" could take place.

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A Little Ditty on Naming Rights for the New Detroit Red Wings Arena

Olympia Entertainment admitted that it selected a buyer for the Detroit Red Wings' new arena in The District Detroit 50-block area renovation project. Who is it? Who knows! Chris Ilitch, owner Mike Ilitch's son and president and C.E.O. of Ilitch Holdings, disclosed that the formal announcement could come within the next month or so. In the meantime, it may be good to know how naming rights operate so when the announcement is made, we can discuss the deal in an educated fashion and form an opinion on whether it was a smart decision overall.

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What "Hockeytown" Is According To The Law

Here in Detroit, our fervor for the return of hockey season radiates brighter than ever, courtesy of the nauseating hangover the Tigers have left us with and the infinite number of ways the Lions manage to lose. Detroit is more than just any hockey town - it is "Hockeytown"! Those of us twenty-somethings who grew up in Michigan during the era where Detroit emerged and began its reign as "Hockeytown" were wonderfully privileged children. I think it is appropriate to learn about how we earned the right to call our city Hockeytown. So, I will dish out what "Hockeytown" is in the legal world of sports.

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