Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Vegas Golden Knights issued a sarcastic response to Army's trademark claim

Vegas Golden Knights issued a sarcastic response to Army's trademark claim

This is not the first time the Army has expressed discontent with the Golden Knights, who began play in the National Hockey League this season.

After the Army's concerns first surfaced in November 2016, Mr. Foley told The Las Vegas Review-Journal the team did not check with the Army on the name Golden Knights because "our lawyers and the N.H.L.'s lawyers didn't feel we needed to".

"Our use of the Golden Knights is distinctive from the Army Golden Knights just as the N.Y. Rangers are distinctive from the Texas Rangers or the Arizona Cardinals are distinctive from the St. Louis Cardinals".

Initially, the Vegas hockey team was to be called the "Black Knights" (which surely wouldn't have spawned thousands of Monty Python jokes), but ultimately moved towards the Golden Knights.


The Army says it has used the Golden Knights nickname since the late 1960s for its parachute team, public relations and recruiting, and claims it owns "common law rights" for the color schemes that combine black and gold and yellow and white. Vegas owner Bill Foley is a graduate of academy and a significant donor. There remains the possibility that the Golden Knights could be compelled to change their name, which would constitute a rare setback for an expansion team that, remarkably enough, held the NHL's second-best record heading into Thursday's action.

In a claim filed Wednesday with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in suburban Washington, the Army claims it will be damaged if the trademark is registered and says it has acquired exclusive rights to it that predate any rights claimed by the National Hockey League team. After that, they'll have a long, arduous process in which they'll have to prove that their brand is not built around West Point.

The notice, filed Wednesday and first brought to light by SportsLogos.net, states the the army "believes it will be damaged" by the team's use of the name and logos. "They make at very least a prima facie case that the marks and colours were meant to conjure imagery of the USMA which may be enough to get a trial court to side with the Army", the anonymous attorney said.

One reason for the team's success is its near flawless record at home in Las Vegas; as of Thursday, the team had won 18 games on home ice while losing only twice and tying once. Two colleges - UCF and the College of Saint Rose - do have trademarks. The College of Saint Rose requested another extension, as Wednesday was the final day, but Army made a decision to formally contest the trademark. The franchise conducted a stirring tribute to the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas prior to their home opener.

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