The United States Army has been threatening to file a trademark claim over the Vegas Golden Knights’ branding, and yesterday they finally did so, submitting a formal Notice of Opposition with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on the last possible day. The notice, which you can read in full below, takes issue with the Golden Knights’ logo, coloring scheme, and name, which the hockey team shares with the Army’s parachute team.
One piece of evidence alleging the NHL team stole their logo idea from the Army is a quote from owner and West Point grad William Foley about wanting the Army’s Golden Knights parachute in for a team ceremony. He also apparently wanted to call the team the Black Knights before “concern from Army officials” caused him to change his mind, later saying he wanted Golden Knights because it was also the name of Army’s parachute squad. The Army’s concern is that people could confuse the NHL’s Golden Knights as somehow affiliated with or sponsored by the government.
The Golden Knights must respond by Feb. 19 or risk losing the trademark. The team released a snappy statement, lodging a “[strong] dispute” with the Army’s claim (emphasis ours):
“In the Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Army filed its opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights’ applications to register the trademark VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS used in connection with the sport of hockey. 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. 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.”