KTNV recently interviewed your ‘umble author to discuss the trademark woes faced by Las Vegas’ forthcoming NHL team, the Golden Knights. You can read the full story and watch the clip here. The upshot of the issue seems thus: A routine office action by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office created interesting media fodder, and provided another opportunity for intellectual property practitioners to try (in vain?) to explain to the public that not having a registration does not mean you do not “own the name.”
It is a good reminder for business owners to do some trademark searches before selecting–and investing heavily in–any new business, product, or service name. The media dust this has raised for the Golden Knights likely has been more of a headache than the underlying legal issue. Given the herculean task of bringing major league hockey to the desert, one can forgive the team’s ownership for prioritizing those challenges above name selection. Nonetheless, it’s a warning for everyone else.