Thursday, December 21, 2017

Vince McMahon's Alpha Entertainment, LLC Files Five New Trademark Applications for XFL

A couple days ago, David Bixenspan of Deadspin reported on rumors surrounding Vince McMahon's vision to bring back the XFL, a football league that operated as a joint venture with the WWE and NBC that that played one season in 2001. In that article, Mr. Bixenspan reported that the WWE confirmed Vince McMahon formed an entity called Alpha Entertainment "to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football." On December 16th, it appears Alpha Entertainment, LLC took additional steps in that direction.
On that date, Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed five trademark applications for XFL with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. And yes, they are related to professional football.

The core application for XFL covers "Entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions" and "arranging and conducting athletic competitions, namely, professional football games and exhibitions," among other services in Class 41.

The other four applications cover a variety of ancillary goods/services, such as merchandise, including:
Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed each application on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting it is not using XFL in conjunction with the listed goods and services yet (which makes sense considering the league isn't active) but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). Before the USPTO will register these XFL marks, Alpha Entertainment will need to start using the marks in conjunction with the listed goods and services and submit sufficient proof of same to the USPTO. See TMEP 1103.

Back in September, Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed two identical applications (not sure why) for URFL covering goods similar to those listed in XFL application filed in Class 9. According to my quick search, those two URFL applications, and the five XFL applications described above, are the only federal trademark applications that have been filed by Alpha Entertainment, LLC.

Interestingly, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. also owns three pending trademark applications for XFL (none of those have yet registered, however). The WWE's applications also cover entertainment services (albeit primarily related to wrestling) as well as a variety of clothing items. Because those XFL applications are owned by a separate entity, the USPTO may refuse to register Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL applications under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act if the USPTO deems the underlying goods and services to be related. See TMEP 1207 et seq. In other words, the USPTO doesn't register marks that are confusingly similar to previously filed marks, so the WWE's XFL applications might prevent the registration of Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL marks.

We'll find out in approximately three months whether the WWE's pending XFL applications block Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL applications. If so (and maybe even regardless), Alpha Entertainment and the WWE will need to determine who owns the XFL mark. Stay tuned. 


  1. re: the identical applications. I believe the difference was how the letter "r" was styled: URFL vs. UrFL.

    1. True they appear that way in the USPTO's database, but they are both standard character mark applications, meaning the applications are not for the appearance/design, only the text. In other words, differences in the way URFL is displayed is irrelevant. Both applications are for the letters "URFL."