The Washington Commanders failed to trademark the NFL team’s new name and might have to change it for a third time in three years if their appeal is denied, according to attorney Josh Gerben.
Gerben tweeted that the main two reasons why the trademark process didn’t go the franchise’s way is because of an existing TM for “Commanders’ Classic” — the name of an annual college football game between the Air Force and Army teams — and due to pending applications from Martin McCaulay, a DC-area man who filed trademarks trying to guess the organization’s new moniker.
McCaulay has stated he will hand over any trademark the team needs for free, but he can always back out in the end.
If the team can’t trademark the name, they’ll still be able to use it, but will have a difficult time trying to stop third-party sellers from offering unofficial Commanders merchandise.
It’s also possible the new ownership will rather start fresh with a new name if the trademark process fails.
Commanders confident in trademark process
Washington will need a strong legal argument as to why the team’s name won’t be confused with the Air Force vs. Army football game and hope that McCaulay keeps his word to secure the trademark.
A team spokesperson is confident those two things will happen for Washington to trademark “Commanders,” according to ProFootballTalk.
“The trademark office’s recent nonfinal office action is an ordinary course step in the standard trademark registration process,” a team spokesperson told PFT. “We will respond to the Trademark Office’s office action and are confident that our registration will be issued.
“In particular, there is no likelihood of confusion between our COMMANDERS marks and the COMMANDERS’ CLASSIC football game between the Army and the Air Force. We do not believe that any trademark registrations that were obtained by squatters who attempted to capitalize on the Club’s name change should stand in the way of our registrations.”