Author Topic: Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute  (Read 1054 times)

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Offline PC

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Topic Start: February 21, 2006, 01:20:01 PM »
The team without a home or owner might also not have a name.

According to a report in The New York Times on Tuesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a request for federal trademark registration on the name Washington Nationals to Bygone Sports last week. The Cincinnati-based company, which specializes in historic trademarks and sports apparel, applied for the trademark in September 2002.

According to the Times, Major League Baseball, aware of Bygone Sports' claim to the Washington Nationals name, thought it had reached an agreement with the company for the name's rights when the franchise was moved from Montreal in 2004.

"We believe we own the name and the rights," John McHale Jr., a baseball executive vice president, told the Times. "We struck a deal prior to the announcement with the people who claimed they owned the name, and we've been fighting to get that agreement enforced. They didn't live up to the agreement."

However, Roger Kaplan, an attorney for Bygone Sports, told the Times that although baseball contends an oral agreement was reached Nov. 12, 2004 -- 10 days before the team was renamed -- the sides had actually only reached a preliminary agreement.

"All the terms and conditions had not been fully discussed," he said.

Kaplan also contends that baseball and Bygone Sports had not put the agreement in writing and had agreed not to be bound by an agreement until it was in writing.

Both baseball and Bygone Sports sued, and the case landed in federal court, where it will be determined if there is an enforceable agreement. If the lawsuit goes forward, a trial is scheduled to begin April 3 -- the day the Nationals open their second season in Washington.

Neither baseball nor Bygone Sports dispute that the company raised its asking price for the rights from $130,000 to $1.5 million. Bygone Sports also asked for four tickets to the Nationals' opener last season and a $10,000 advertising credit on MLB.com.

"For two weeks after the team was named, Bygone was prepared to move forward on the original amount," Kaplan told the Times.

But negotiations collapsed, and both sides filed suit.

Baseball sued in June, claiming that although Bygone Sports had applied for the rights two years prior to the team's move, the company wanted to "turn a quick, undeserved profit" by seeking trademark registration rights. In its countersuit in July, Bygone Sports accused baseball of not researching the name to know that someone else had claimed it.

If the case proceeds and the judge rules for Bygone Sports, baseball would then have to decide whether to rename the team, because it would not be able to sell apparel and other paraphernalia with the Nationals name on it.

"You wouldn't be able to go to the ballpark and buy a shirt or cap with the team name on it," Kaplan told the Times.

"I think it's likely that we would change if we're not correct," McHale told the Times.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2338138

Offline charliec107

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #1: February 21, 2006, 02:59:30 PM »
Bygone should be happy with the prelimary offer.  I bet they haven't sold close to the value of the offer in "Nationals" gear.  They were probably holding onto the trademark in hopes a team that moved here would want to be called the Nationals.  Undeserved profit Indeed.

Offline The Chief

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #2: February 21, 2006, 03:09:18 PM »
I'll just add this to this thread and delete the other one I started.

Quote
Mark Segraves, WTOP Radio

WASHINGTON -- Forget the stadium problems -- the Washington Nationals may now have an identity crisis on their hands.

A lawsuit over the trademark rights for the "Washington Nationals" name is currently in federal court in Manhattan.

Cincinnati-based Bygone Sports, a company specializing in historic sporting gear, applied for the federal trademark registration under the "Washington Nationals" name in September of 2002, when the team was still called the Expos.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the trademark to Bygone last week, meaning the team can still be called the Nationals, but cannot sell any clothing under that name.

Major League Baseball had filed a protest with the Patent Office, but their claim was rejected. Now, both sides are suing each other.


read more at WTOP.com - http://wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=705451

Offline Kenz aFan

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #3: February 21, 2006, 04:43:18 PM »
I'm pretty sure Bygone changed its mind and reneged on the "verbal" deal with MLB, when they saw how much money was being made on Nationals merchandise. My guess is, they're hoping MLB considers making a better offer to keep things out of the courts.

Just one more excuse MLB can use to delay settling the lease issue and naming an owner...

Offline JMW IV

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #4: February 21, 2006, 07:37:26 PM »
Quote from: "Kenz aFan"
I'm pretty sure Bygone changed its mind and reneged on the "verbal" deal with MLB, when they saw how much money was being made on Nationals merchandise. My guess is, they're hoping MLB considers making a better offer to keep things out of the courts.

Just one more excuse MLB can use to delay settling the lease issue and naming an owner...


yup!

Bygone ONLY has ONE crappy shirt in their entire Nationals Merchandise catalog.

they aren't trying to sell merchandise. they are trying to get a big settlement payoff for sitting on the Name for 5 years.

Offline The Chief

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #5: February 21, 2006, 08:07:17 PM »
^^^ Hopefully the courts will see that and settle this favorably for MLB and the Nats.

Offline LetsGoNats

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Report: Nats name in middle of trademark dispute
« Reply #6: February 21, 2006, 09:58:58 PM »
Quote from: "JMadisonIV"

Bygone ONLY has ONE crappy shirt in their entire Nationals Merchandise catalog.

they aren't trying to sell merchandise. they are trying to get a big settlement payoff for sitting on the Name for 5 years.


Is that the one I saw advertised (I think) on the Wash Times website?  It was real generic looking white t-shirt with the words Washington Nationals on the front in a font style I've never seen with the Nats name/logo before.  The blue wasn't even the right color.  I was wondering how somebody could be so blatantly selling something that looked so not-licensed.  (Though I guess it is).   Those shirts look more generic than those sorry hats they sell outside the stadium for $10.