Looks Like Army Will Be Taking The Vegas Golden Knights To Court Over Trademark Infringement

NHL: JAN 07 Rangers at Golden Knights – Earlier today the Department of the Army filed a notice of opposition against Black Knight Sports and Entertainment with the United States Trademark and Patent Office over the use of the name “Golden Knights” for the expansion Las Vegas NHL team…

…Three grounds of opposition are listed in the filing — Trademark Act Section 2(d): priority and likelihood of confusion; Trademark Act Sections 2 and 43(c): dilution by blurring; and Trademark Act Section 2(a): false suggestion of a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or brings them into contempt, or disrepute. The filing claims that the Army “believes it will be damaged” by the registration of the mark, that they have long used the mark (since “at least 1969”) in connection with its U.S. Army Parachute team, as well as for recruiting efforts, and public relations for the U.S. Military. The similar colour scheme is also noted in the notice of opposition, claiming the Army owns “common law” rights to “black+gold/yellow+white”.

The Vegas Golden Knights have until February 19, 2018 to respond to the notice of opposition filed today or they may be at risk of simply losing the trademark.

Now I know this may come as a surprise to some of you but I actually never went to law school. Hell, I never even applied to law school. If that makes you think any less of me, then so be it. I just figured I’d come out of the gate with some honesty right away here. With that being said, I feel pretty comfortable taking this case on. Because while I may not fully understand the ins and outs behind all the legal proceedings and the what have you’s here, this seems like a prime example of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” here, no?

What I’m trying to say is Bill Foley, the Vegas Golden Knights owner, is a West Point grad himself. He’s not going out of his way trying to rip Army off. He’s simply paying homage to the Military Academy. I’m just failing to recognize the issue with this especially considering it’s not like he’s disgracing the name or anything. It’s a professional hockey team and the boys are currently in 1st place in the Western Conference. I could see if the “Vegas Golden Knights” was the name of some sort of strip club in Vegas. Then I’d get why Army would most likely want to disassociate themselves with that. But the fact that this is the most successful 1st year NHL expansion team in the history of the league? I’m sorry but I just don’t get what the big deal is.

Especially because it’s not like anybody is going around and getting the two mixed up. Like who is going around talking about the Vegas Golden Knights and getting them confused with the Golden Knights parachute team?


Nobody, that’s who. They have the same name, sure. They have somewhat similar color schemes, sure. But unless you ate paint chips for dinner every night as a kid, it’s pretty damn difficult to mix up the US Army Parachute Team and a professional ice hockey team regardless of if they have the same name or not.

So now what? Where does Army want the Vegas Golden Knights to go from here? They already shot down the team’s idea of being called the “Vegas Black Knights”. The “Vegas Knights” clearly makes the most amount of sense especially since you could make that a bit of a double entendre, but I think that’s trademarked as well. I don’t know. The black and gold color scheme seems pretty dang standard for a team called the “___ Knights”. What other colors could they possibly go with? You want them to take the Miami Dolphins colors? Could you imagine how ridiculous the “Vegas Teal Knights” would look? Get real. Black and gold is as standard as it comes for a team called the Knights. You shouldn’t be able to own those colors.

And here’s what this all boils down to. The year is 2018. There are 32 teams in the NFL. There are 31 teams in the NHL. There are 30 teams in the NBA and there are 30 teams in the MLB. There are hundreds of major college teams in all of those sports. There are minor league teams. Try to think about how many sports team names there are today. It’s damn near impossible for anybody to come up with an original one at this point. I’m just trying to think off the top of my head of something I’ve never seen used as a mascot before. Maybe they could be the “Vegas Half-Off Appetizers”. Or they could be the “Vegas There’s-A-Little-Bit-Of-Shampoo-In-The-Bottle-So-You-Fill-It-Up-With-Water-So-You-Don’t-Waste-A-Drops”. But neither of those team names really roll of the tongue now, do they? So unless you want to go with one of those names, you’re stuck needing to recycle a mascot that’s already been used before.

Listen. I’ve got nothing but respect for the Troops. I am appreciative of everything they do on a day-to-day basis. I get that they’re proud of these names and these colors. But like I said. Bill Foley is a West Point guy himself. I could see getting upset if some jabroni with a trust fund decided to buy a team one day and call them the Golden Knights while using similar colors. But not when it’s one of your own, especially not when it seems like the team has very little to no impact the parachute team or anything else at West Point.

With all that being said… things were going way too well for the Golden Knights to start off their inaugural season in the NHL so I guess I’ll be happy if this is the start of their demise. They were getting a little too chummy for my liking.