Hockey’s Golden Knights, Named to Avoid Trademark Dispute, Face Trademark Dispute

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Marc-Andre Fleury, the goaltender for the Vegas Golden Knights of the N.H.L. The Army has a parachute team known as the Golden Knights. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Midway through their wildly successful first season in the National Hockey League, the Vegas Golden Knights have run into a problem off the ice. And it is very nearly the exact dispute the team’s majority owner appears to have tried — at least somewhat — to avoid.

The owner, Bill Foley, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, whose athletic teams have long competed as the Army Black Knights. Mr. Foley had initially hoped to call his new hockey team the Black Knights but encountered resistance, including some from West Point.

So he went with Golden Knights instead — but now, it seems, that wasn’t enough.

The Army, it turns out, has a parachute team known as the Golden Knights. And when the hockey franchise unveiled its name in November 2016, West Point officials took note, saying they were “reviewing the situation and figuring out what the way ahead would be.”

Members of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team delivered the game ball before the Ohio State-Army football game on Sept. 16. Staff Sgt. Michael Carden/Ohio National Guard

On Wednesday, Army officials signaled that the way ahead is formal opposition; they filed notice in the United States Patent and Trademark Office that asks its board to refuse to register the hockey team’s trademark application for “Vegas Golden Knights.”

In the filings, an Army lawyer argued that its parachute team’s Golden Knights name is both famous and “symbolic of the extensive good will and public recognition established by the United States Army.”

Source: The New York Times