Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicago Bulls Name Change or Nicknames? Multiple Trademark Applications Filed By Team

On December 14th, the Chicago Bulls (well, technically Northwest Sports, LLC d/b/a Chicago Bulls) filed six federal trademark applications for HEARTLAND BULLS, WINDY CITY BULLS, and GREAT LAKES BULLS. The address listed for Northwest Sports, LLC matches the address listed for the Chicago Bulls' executive offices, suggesting that this is the legal entity that owns the team (or at least holds its trademarks).
The Bulls filed two applications for each nickname. One set of applications relates to "[e]ntertainment and educational services in the nature of ongoing television and radio programs in the field of basketball and rendering live basketball games and basketball exhibitions.." and various related services while the other set relates to a wide range of clothing items.

The Bulls filed all of these applications on an intent-to-use basis, which means the team is not using the names in commerce (i.e. selling the related goods or offering the related services under the marks) yet but has a plan to do so in the near future. Unless the Chicago Bulls plan on changing their team name, these trademark applications probably relate to potential nicknames the team plans to use in referring to itself and on related team merchandise. By filing the applications, the team is trying to secure the exclusive, nationwide right to use the terms on the goods and services listed in the trademark applications.

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