Friday, August 30, 2019

The San Antonio Spurs Are Filing Trademark Applications for Hockey Teams

Is minor league hockey coming back to San Antonio? Recent trademark applications suggest it might be.

On August 26, San Antonio Spurs, LLC d/b/a Spurs Sports & Entertainment filed four hockey-related trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - one for the words SAN ANTONIO IGUANAS, one for the words SAN ANTONIO DRAGONS, and applications for the related logos seen below.

Both the Dragons and the Iguanas used to be minor league hockey teams in San Antonio. The Dragons were a team in the International Hockey League for two seasons from 1996-1998. The Iguanas were in the Central Hockey League and active from 1994-1997 and again from 1998-2002. Both teams played at Freeman Coliseum.

These trademark applications cover a variety of clothing items, like uniforms, shirts, pants, and hats, as well as a variety of merchandise like autograph books, printed guides in the field of hockey, and stickers, so it's possible the Spurs only intend to sell vintage hockey apparel and merchandise. 

The services in Class 41, however, are the most interesting. They cover "Entertainment services in the nature of hockey games and hockey related exhibitions." These are services typically seen in a trademark registration for a hockey team (like this one for the Boston Bruins).

Does this mean minor league hockey is actually coming back to San Antonio? Not necessarily. Although the Spurs filed these applications on an intent-to-use basis (see TMEP 806.01(b)), which requires them to have a bona fide intention to use these trademark in conjunction with the listed goods and services (including hockey games), it in no way requires the Spurs to start using the marks with those goods and services. However, if the Spurs want to obtain a registration for these marks in Class 41, they'll eventually need to actually start using these marks in conjunction with hockey games and submit sufficient proof of same to the USPTO. See TMEP 1103.

Filing trademark applications for vintage teams isn't uncommon. Back in April, I blogged about the NFL's trademark applications for DULUTH ESKIMOS, an old football team. 

According to my quick search, these trademark applications are the first federal applications for hockey-related goods/services ever filed by San Antonio Spurs, LLC.

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