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Army Files Opposition to the Use of 'Golden Knights'

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On Wednesday, the Department of the Army filed a formal opposition against the Vegas Golden Knights' ownership group, Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, with the United States Trademark and Patent Office for the use of the Golden Knights' moniker. According to sportslogos.net, Army and the College of Saint Rose requested extensions to the deadline to contest the name earlier this year. The College of Saint Rose requested another extension, as Wednesday was the final day, but Army decided to formally contest the trademark.


Army has listed three grounds of opposition, including dilution, false suggestion of connection, and the possibility of being brought into disrepute. Army "believes it will be damaged," according to the filing, and mentioned the similar color scheme.


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 United States Army Parachute Team is referred to as the Golden Knights, with that trademark officially registered, while the Black Knights, of course, is also the name of Army's athletic teams. Golden Knights' owner Bill Foley has even said that West Point was his inspiration.


"We were going to be the Black Knights but there's already a Blackhawks in the league," Foley told TSN Radio Vancouver in November. "So another name used at West Point is 'Golden Knights' for the parachute team." Army references this in its opposition.


The Golden Knights have until Feb. 19 to respond to this notice, or they may have to forfeit the trademark. 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. An attorney told sportslogos.net that this case is no joke. "They make at very least a prima facie case that the marks and colours were intended to conjure imagery of the USMA which may be enough to get a trial court to side with the Army," the anonymous attorney said. "This is by no means a frivolous case."


The Golden Knights, however, seem to disagree regarding the frivolity of the case. The team's response is not treating this matter with the dignity that the aforementioned attorney seems to think it deserves. As the main part of the Army complaint seems to refer to the Army Parachute Team, Vegas doesn't see where anyone can get confused.



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This question lies at the heart of a notice of opposition filed Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Army in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (a.k.a. the USPTO, the government agency that administers the national trademark registry). Among other points, the Army stresses that the U.S. Army Parachute Team, which over the last 55 years has performed in more than 16,000 shows, has long been nicknamed the Golden Knights?quite unlike the expansion NHL team that adopted the name only 14 months ago. And, for sports and entertainment purposes, the Army has for decades used a color scheme similar to that now employed by said NHL team.


Is it harmless admiration for one service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces? Or is it unlawful copycatting that damages the Army?s brand?





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  • 3 weeks later...

Update: They have until April 25 to settle out of court, or it gets interesting ...



Army, Vegas Golden Knights working on settlement over name dispute


The Vegas Golden Knights hockey team and the Army are working on settling the trademark dispute that has hung over the NHL expansion team.


On Jan. 25, Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC — owner of the Vegas Golden Knights — filed a “motion for suspension for settlement with consent” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The motion was granted, which means the company and the Army have until April 25 to settle the dispute out of court.


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