The United States Army has filed a challenge with the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to the Vegas Golden Knights’ name, saying that it is associated with their military branch.
The filing states that the NHL team “has chosen and used a similar black+gold/yellow+white color scheme on uniforms, marketing, advertisements and its hockey arena, mimicking the opposer’s colors and further adding to the likelihood of confusion of the public.”
Army claims that it has used the Golden Knights name since 1969 and the name is in connection with its parachute team, as well as with recruiting, stating that it owns “common law rights in color scheme black+gold/yellow+white.”
The Army points to an article in the Washington Post that was posted back in June in which the team’s general manager, George McPhee, mentions the connections.
“Bill Foley is a West Point guy, sort of using those colors,” McPhee said in the aeticle. “You know his history at West Point. You know about the classmates he had lost serving this country. So, those colors mean a lot to us.”
In the filing, there are also references to tweets made by TSN that quotes McPhee as saying, “We were going to be the Black Knights, but we already had the Blackhawks in the league, so the league was trying to get us to come up with another name, so another name used at West Point is the Golden Knights for the parachute team.”
The team, which has until February 19th to file it’s response to the appeal board, responded with the following:
“We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team,” the team said in a statement Thursday. “Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game. That said, in light of the pending trademark opposition proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time and will address the Army’s opposition in the relevant legal forums.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office initially rejected the Vegas Golden Knights logo based on its similarity to that of the College of St. Rose, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded by saying that they believed the marks could coexist and that it “is not our intention to reconsider the name or logo of this franchise.”