Recent federal trademark applications filed by the NBA for Chinese versions of "NBA League Pass" appear to be related to the NBA's deal with a Chinese mass media company, announced in early 2015, to provide NBA League Pass games and other content in the Chinese market.
mark seen above (and another mark with slight variations in the Chinese letters), for NBA LIÁN MÉNG TONG (in English letters), for LIÁN MÉNG TONG in English letters, and for LIÁN MÉNG TONG in Chinese characters.
Each application was filed in Class 041 for a variety of entertainment services related to basketball (such as television and radio programs, basketball events, clinics, and camps, fan club services, and video games) and in Class 038 for a variety of broadcasting services (including cable television, radio, and subscription television broadcasting). The NBA also filed each application on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting (but not necessarily meaning) that the NBA is not yet using these marks in conjunction with these services in commerce yet, but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.
According to my quick search, these are the first Chinese character trademark applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by NBA Properties, Inc. The NBA's intellectual property component is currently listed as the owner of 316 live trademark applications or registrations at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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