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Rut-Roh: Trademark Flap Puts Vegas NHL Team’s Identity in Doubt

It seems like just barely two weeks ago that the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, unveiled their name and logo. Actually, it was barely two weeks ago — and now the whole thing is in doubt because the team’s trademark application has been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Why? Because it’s too similar to the mark used by the College of Saint Rose Golden Knights, a small school in Albany.

The details are spelled out in this SB Nation story, which was published last night. To clarify an important point: Saint Rose did not challenge the Vegas team’s mark. Rather, a USPTO attorney noticed the similarities between the two marks while reviewing the trademark application and rejected the filing on that basis.

The team has a chance to respond to the USPTO ruling, and ownership put out a statement late last night saying they intend to do just that. In case you can’t read the fairly small type, it says:

There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names, including Vegas Golden Knights and Clarkson Golden Knights, UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, U of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action which must be filed by June 7, 2017.

Office actions like these are not at all unusual, and we will proceed with the help of outside counsel in preparing a response to this one.

It’s not clear why team ownership didn’t already have this issue settled before unveiling the team name two weeks ago. Seems like a major failure of due diligence, right?

I sent a note last night to Uni Watch’s resident intellectual property expert, attorney Anthony Verna, to get his take on this. Here’s his response:

1) Looking at the marks, both of them share “Golden Knights.” The question is if those marks use “Golden Knights” in their dominant portion. They do — even though the NHL team’s filing is “Vegas Golden Knights,” we get to ignore “Vegas” because the goods/services are going to actually come from Las Vegas. (We call that geographically descriptive in trademark law. If the goods/services come from the a geographic area mentioned in the trademark, then the mark describes an aspect of the goods/services and the descriptive portion is not protectable.)

2) The goods/services are exactly the same. Regardless of sport, and regardless of skill level, the exhibition of a sport is going to be deemed the same as the exhibition of another sport and that’s the situation here. This is true even though price points are different, salaries are different, the reasons consumers consume their products are different, etc. (The USPTO is not there to say that the NHL price point for a ticket is radically different than a college’s price point for a ticket, therefore, their consumer markets are radically different.)

All is not lost for the NHL team, though. Many trademarks receive this “office action” (which is our fancy trademark law terminology for “rejection”). The Vegas team could present a substantive response, arguing why the marks are different (and they have different stylizations, different pronunciations, and probably different denotations and connotations). Another response would be to have what we call a co-existence agreement, in which both parties agree there are substantive differences in the markets or in the consumers or in the channels of advertising. Submitting evidence of an agreement in which both parties agree to their differences will usually push a mark towards registration.

Also: The NHL team could appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (you heard about that federal administrative court in the Redskins cases) and argue that the USPTO attorney is incorrect in issuing the office actions. The NHL team could appeal to the TTAB and try to cancel the college’s registration. There are so many different directions this could move in. It’s impossible to predict how it will play out.

Big thanks to Anthony for his expertise.

•  •  •  •  •

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Culinary Corner: One of our holiday traditions here at Uni Watch is the annual appearance of my recipe for homemade Irish cream. In other words, homemade Bailey’s. In other words, melted ice cream that gets you drunk. It’s super-easy to make, it’ll make you the hero of whatever party you bring it to, and lots of you have told me how much you like it. Here’s how to do it:

Start with some decent Irish whiskey ”” Bushmills, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, something like that (but not super-high-end stuff, because the nuances will be lost in this preparation). Pour a pint of the whiskey into a large-ish container and mix it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, a pint of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a quarter-teaspoon of almond extract, and a teaspoon of instant espresso powder dissolved in two tablespoons of hot water.

Mix well (if the container has a tight lid, you can just shake vigorously), refrigerate, serve over ice, and get ready to become the most popular person in the room. No need to thank me afterward, but you’ll want to do so anyway — trust me.

• • • • •

Blues news you can use: My favorite music is Delta country blues (i.e., the first generation of Mississippi country bluesmen, who recorded in the 1920s and ’30s) and golden-age Chicago blues (i.e., the next generation of bluesmen, who mostly learned on acoustic instruments while growing up in Mississippi and then moved to Chicago and made their country blues more urbanized and electric in the late 1940s and ’50s). And if you love that music as much as I do, this has been a very interesting week.

First, a new movie opened, called Two Trains Runnin’. It’s a documentary about an incredible series of coincidences that took place in Mississippi on a single day in the summer of 1964. First, there were three white college kids who’d driven down to the Delta from Boston in search of the enigmatic acoustic bluesman Son House (that’s him above), who had recorded a handful of 78s in the 1930s and ’40s and then vanished. On June 21, they found him. Unbeknownst to them, another carload of young white blues fans had driven to Mississippi all the way from California. They were searching for another vanished bluesman, Skip James. They found him on that same date — June 21. Meanwhile, swirling all around them was the tension and violence of Freedom Summer, as hundreds of civil rights activists were coming to Mississippi to set up schools and register black voters. On that same day, June 21, three of those activists were murdered, which would galvanize the civil rights movement and help lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

I saw the movie last night. It’s powerful stuff, with the twin strands of the blues researchers and the civil rights activists occasionally intertwining. Two projects, both with complicated racial dimensions, both involving outsiders descending on Mississippi. I knew the stories of the Son House and Skip James being rediscovered, and of course I knew the famous story of the civil rights murders, but I hadn’t been aware that they’d all taken place on the same day (which, for what it’s worth, was the day I turned three months old). I cried a few times during the movie — in part because blues often affects me that way, and in part because of the tragedy that was the state of Mississippi in 1964.

For those of you in NYC, Two Trains Runnin’ is currently playing at the Metrograph and will be there at least through next Thursday. Don’t miss.

The other blues-related news this week was the release of the new Rolling Stones album, Blue & Lonesome, which consists entirely of Chicago blues covers. The Stones haven’t been artistically relevant in over 30 years, but they’re still my favorite rock and roll band, and a straight-up blues LP sounds like a good approach for them, at least in theory. They got their start playing blues covers, and their name comes from a Muddy Waters song.

Unfortunately, it’s a dud. The guitars crunch and wail at all the appropriate junctures, Mick’s vocals are okay, his harmonica is more than okay, the sound and engineering are fine (although I continue to hate the way producer Don Was insists on making Charlie’s cymbal crashes sound like a steam pump), and the whole project feels respectful and, at times, joyous. But it also feels empty. Why? A few thoughts:

•  When the Stones played lots of blues covers in the early 1960s, it was because they hadn’t yet learned how to write songs. They’re doing a full album of blues covers now because they’ve essentially stopped writing songs. They haven’t released an album of originals in 11 years, and they haven’t released a good album in 35 years. In short: They’re tapped out. Viewed in that context, an album of blues covers feels more like a lazy placeholder than anything else.

•  The whole point of doing a cover version (to say nothing of a whole album of cover versions) is that it should tell us something new about the song, the artist covering it, or both. These covers do neither. The arrangements are straightforward reproductions of the originals, and it’s not exactly a secret that the Stones are big blues fans. There’s no revelation here, no challenge, nothing to be learned. Just lots of confirmation of what we already knew. The whole thing feels way too easy, too comfortable.

• One reason those original Chicago blues records still sound so exciting today is that they sound primitive. The instruments and amps were battered, the musicianship was superb but very raw, the sound engineering was even rawer, and the vocals had all sorts of incredible nuances that had to do with issues of race, class, rural upbringing, and even education (people who can’t read or write tend to listen more acutely, which in turn means they tend to vocalize more acutely). When the Stones played blues covers in the early years of their career, they had a primitive aspect as well, because they were still learning to play, learning how to command their sound. But now they’re first-rate career professionals playing with state-of-the-art gear in a state-of-the-art studio. There are some raw bits on the new album, but the rawness feels manufactured or even curated, not organic. It’s more like a museum version of the blues.

• Another big reason those Chicago blues records still sound so good is that the bluesmen were, well, legitimately blue. They led hardscrabble lives, they often lived in slums, they rarely had much money, plus they had all the attendant problems of being black men in a highly segregated city well before the civil rights era. The urgency of their lives — and the escape from that urgency that their music represented — was reflected in their recordings. The Stones, by contrast, are among the wealthiest and most comfortable people on the planet. I don’t begrudge them that status (on the contrary, like I said before, I’m a big fan), but it’s not a situation that leads to good blues.

•  When the Stones were playing blues covers back in the early ’60s, most white music fans — hell, most white people, period — didn’t know jackshit about the blues. They’d never heard of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, or Little Walter, much less heard their music. So when the Stones played that music, it was challenging, it was risky, it was even educational. In 1965 they were asked to appear on the TV show Shindig and said they’d only do it if Howlin’ Wolf could appear on the show with them — a seriously ballsy move at the time (and the producers agreed to it!). Half a century later, though, blues is now an entrenched part of rock and roll’s origin story and most rock fans know the drill. The Stones deserve credit for being a key part of the blues’ ascent from historical footnote to treasured American cultural legacy, but one result of that ascent is that there’s really no point in them, or any conventional rock band, playing blues covers anymore.

(As a side note: Blue & Lonesome has what appears to be one of history’s laziest and worst album covers. Even more puzzlingly, the vinyl version is a double-LP — absurd for an album that has only 12 songs totaling 42 minutes. I realize most of the people who listen to this album will be streaming it, not purchasing a physical copy, but still.)

So my tl;dr take on this week’s blues news: See the movie, skip the album.

•  •  •  •  •

Going, going…: Today’s the next-to-last day to get the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s final design of 2016. The design is a mash-up of uniform elements from all of our previous 2016 shirts (click to enlarge):

The only new element is the baseball cap (which didn’t appear on our baseball-themed shirt because the player was wearing a batting helmet). It’s comes in four color options — our usual grey, black, green, plus a new “military green” (that’s what the manufacturer calls it, although I’d just call it light olive) — and is also available with either short or long sleeves.

The shirt will be available through tomorrow night. The shirts are due to ship right after Christmas, so they should arrive in time for you to wear them on New Year’s Eve. (I had hoped to have them delivered in time for Christmas, but it just wasn’t possible to get things finalized in time for that. Sorry.)

If you’ve ordered all five of this year’s previous shirts and also get this one, you’ll be eligible for our year-end “Collect ’Em All” prize, which will be a patch based on the jock tag design used on this year’s shirts. To qualify, please send me proof that you’ve bought all six shirts. The proof can either be (a) a photo showing all the shirts or (b) screen shots of the “Thank you for your order” emails you received from Teespring and Represent.

Once again, the new shirt can be ordered here. Thanks for your consideration.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Indiana’s new uniforms have candy striping on the sleeve cuffs (from Ryan Cotter). … On several occasions during the 1991 season, the Expos’ Tim Wallach wore road pants with the stripe colors inverted. Instead of red in front like the rest of the team, Wallach had blue in front (good spot by Denis Lacloche). … Clint Evans wanted to see what the Dodgers would look like with the Under Armour-branded uniforms, so I made a Photoshop for him. … Several minor league teams, including the San Jose Giants, had some themed jerseys on display at the Winter Meetings (from @213MFS and Andy Horne). … The Chiba Lotte Marines’ stadium has a new logo and naming rights advertiser (from Jeremy Brahm). … Most schools and teams that adopt the Brewers old ball-in-glove logo have the initials MB. Here’s how the Rocky River Bucs handled it.

NFL News: Odd sight this past Sunday as the Saints wore throwbacks but team legends wore current jerseys, complete with the neck roll collars (from Scott Peterson). … Never meet your heroes: A Steelers fan will never wear her Antonio Brown jersey again after the wide receiver showed up late and treated her rudely at a meet-and-greet autograph session (from Brinke). … Washington players shared their thoughts on their personal team-specific emojis (from Jon Solomonson). … The Southern California Sun of the long-defunct WFL had a good helmet cart (from Dwayne White). … If the NFL is the No Fun League, then what can we call the CFL? League commissioner Jeffrey Orridge fined more than 20 players for sock violations during the Grey Cup. Two other players were fined for wearing “improper” (not Adidas) footwear (from @PureLipschitz and Wade Heidt). … No photos, thankfully, but San Francisco coach Chip Kelly says his father was buried in a 49ers sweat suit. … Here’s a better look at the Seahawks’ new green end zones (from Eric Hansman).

College Football News: Tom Herman’s business cards show how Texas’s logo has changed over the years. Herman is the new coach and was a graduate assistant in 1999 and 2000 (from Alex Speth). … A Louisiana company produced marching band figurines for a few schools including Ohio State, USC, and Notre Dame (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: The Ontario Reign are holding a vote for next season’s 10th anniversary logo. They’re all a tad bit busy, but I would vote for B (from Kristopher Sharpe). … Fox Sports North used the old Maple Leafs logo in a graphic last night (from David Steinle). … Gustavus Adolphus College, quaintly known as the Gusties, wear uniforms that are based on what the 1937 team wore (from Brent Kivell). … Boston College G Katie Burt hails from Lynn, Mass., and has a very cool shout-out to her hometown on her mask’s backplate (from Tris Wykes). … Maple Leafs G Karri Ramo’s new mask has an Edgar Allen Poe theme (from Wade Heidt).

NBA/ABA News: Darrun Hilliard II’s NOB is off-center. My guess is that the Pistons applied the suffix to a jersey he wore last year, when his NOB was just “Hilliard.” … Jeremy Lin, who’s missed the majority of the season due to a hamstring injury, has worn some pretty fashionable courtside outfits. … According to a note in the Jan. 6, 1968, edition of The Pittsburgh Press, a game between the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers and Dallas Chaparrals was delayed for more than an hour because the Chaps’ players and uniforms were sent on separate planes, and the uni plane was running late. Also: Note the 8:15pm tip-off time — much later than the starting time for most sporting events today (from Jerry Wolper).

College Hoops News: New unis for George Washington last night (from Byron Kerr). … My coworker thinks that Davidson’s logo looks like Brak from Space Ghost. I agree. … In a game against Gonzaga in the mid-1940s, Washington’s Perry Nelson wore a leather football helmet with facemask to protect a broken nose. More info on Gonzaga’s war-era hoops team here (from Matthew Eng).

Grab Bag: A shop in Jerusalem sells American sports T-shirts with team names in Hebrew (from Brian Spiess). … The cycling team Lotto Soudal has a new uniform, and one of the changes is a second team logo near the shoulder that will allow riders to “capture it on their selfies” (from Alan Evans). … Here’s a good collection of the world’s best volleyball jerseys this year (from Jeremy Brahm).

98 comments to Rut-Roh: Trademark Flap Puts Vegas NHL Team’s Identity in Doubt

  • Dan | December 8, 2016 at 8:36 am |

    CFL = cancel fun league

    • Dumb Guy | December 8, 2016 at 8:43 am |

      Complyorbefined Football League?

    • Rob Ullman | December 8, 2016 at 10:04 am |

      Cancel Festive Leggings

    • JoeyJoeJoe Junior Shabadoo | December 8, 2016 at 10:13 am |

      Corporate Fucking Lawyers

      • Rob Ullman | December 8, 2016 at 10:21 am |

        Winner!

    • Mullet B Miler | December 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm |

      Compliance Fines League, Conforming Footwear League, Corporate Football League (already wearing jersey ad patches)

    • Johnny | December 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm |

      I think this is why NFL teams use solid color socks without stripes…

  • Grant | December 8, 2016 at 8:38 am |

    I don’t think that Antonio Brown link is right.

  • DenverGregg | December 8, 2016 at 8:44 am |

    Notre Dame Hebrew t-shirt is high-larious, though fitting as the school is named after a nice Jewish girl.

    • The Tribe | December 8, 2016 at 9:58 am |

      Re: the Hebrew shirts…

      Seems they used the wrong letter for the Bills transliteration. The shirt maker used the Hebrew letter פ which has a p/f sound rather than ב which has a b/v sound. It should have been spelled ביילס.

      • arrScott | December 8, 2016 at 10:54 am |

        So the shirt is actually for the Buffalo Phils? I can think of someone hereabouts who needs that shirt!

      • Grover Jones | December 8, 2016 at 11:59 am |

        Yeah, and it’s right on the Bronco shirt. Not sure what the problem was.

    • Stevenstat | December 8, 2016 at 7:28 pm |

      Not only is is funny to see Notre Dame in Hebrew, but the transliteration of the Hebrew would be something like “Notray Dom”. In other words, they thought the college is pronounced the same as the French cathedral.

      • Stevenstat | December 8, 2016 at 7:31 pm |

        Also, the nickname of the Florida team,as written in Hebrew, would be pronounced “Getters” or “Gutters”.

  • Bob A | December 8, 2016 at 8:44 am |

    Unsolicited testimonial: Try Paul’s homemade Irish Cream recipe. It’s is really really good.

    • duker | December 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm |

      The homemade Irish Cream is really good.

      However the one year I made it for a Friendsmas party my buddy brought homemade Puerto Rican Coquito. (That’s an egg nog like rum drink.) It totally upstaged my Irish Cream.

  • Ocbee | December 8, 2016 at 9:05 am |

    Agree on the cover of the Stones album. What effort would have taken to take a few appropriate B&W pictures of them in their decrepitude with a smoke dangling from Keith’s mouth, for example?

    In terms of the album it might of worked better (a) if it was recorded in the early ’80s after Tatoo You and (b) recorded live in some Chicago blues club (e.g Buddy Guy’s where I have seen Mick, Keith & Charlie hang).

    • Brinke | December 8, 2016 at 11:22 am |

      I like the album cover. Clean and simple, much like when Chicago puts their logo on the front. You immediately know what it is.

  • Andrew Harrington | December 8, 2016 at 9:14 am |

    I’m not seeing the justification behind this particular trademark issue. If we’re talking about the phrase and only the phrase, then sure, any sporting entity named (Geographic Descriptor) Golden Knights is going to be flagged. When the USPTO says “mark,” I assume it to mean the visual depiction of the words, and not just the words themselves, because it notes hierarchy, typeface, and stylization in its justification.

    When taking into the account the visuals, though, the distinction is very clear to me. Golden Knights is the dominant, distinctive element in the collegiate mark, as stated by the USPTO, but it is clearly not in the Vegas wordmark. It is the “tagline” position occupied by the college name in the registered mark.

    On top of that, everything related to a professional team’s redesign is pre-screened by the leagues’ legal departments, so a lot of people were obviously in agreement to move forward, not just the executives of the team. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

    • walter | December 8, 2016 at 9:23 am |

      One of the bullet points of the case suggested the trademark was weakened by making the place name “Vegas” rather than “Las Vegas”. What are the chances now that the team goes by “Las Vegas Knights”?

      • Mike Engle | December 8, 2016 at 9:49 am |

        Zero, because the London Knights, a very successful major junior hockey team in the OHL (for reference, their alumni include Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, and Rick Nash) would oppose it and have a great case. A name you can’t use for hockey in Canada isn’t worth anything, considering that you’d have to carry two sets of branding which would mean you have no branding. Just like the old cliche, if you have two number one goalies, you don’t have a number one goalie.

      • Anthony Verna | December 8, 2016 at 10:11 am |

        “Vegas” and “Las Vegas” would be the same.

    • J.D. | December 8, 2016 at 10:16 am |

      It’s also interesting that the USPTO flagged the similarity to the College of St. Rose rather than the University of Central Florida. UCF is much better known, and in my opinion, their “golden knight” is much more similar to the Vegas version: http://i.imgur.com/CDtaSrg.jpg

      • Andrew Harrington | December 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm |

        They are known no longer as Golden Knights, but just Knights.

  • Alex Dewitt | December 8, 2016 at 9:22 am |

    This sounds somewhat similar to what happened to my University (Northwood, MI) when they changed their name from “Norsemen” to “Timberwolves” in the 1990s between the school and the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. Until five years ago Northwood (who’s colors are Columbia Blue and Navy Blue) had to, as part of the agreement, had to keep their original Timberwolves logo with the original color scheme of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

  • Jay Winkler | December 8, 2016 at 9:25 am |

    Is there any chance the USPTO was pressured to reject the trademark by higher-ups at Army West Point? There had been talk about them challenging the mark, is it possible they leveraged government contacts to make this happen without having to really fight the battle themselves? Probably not, but I thought about it when this was announced.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 9:36 am |

      There’s more than enough conspiracy theorizing going on in the world right now. Let’s please not add to it here. Thanks.

  • scottrj | December 8, 2016 at 9:27 am |

    Follow-up question for Anthony: on what basis could the NHL seek to cancel the college’s prior registration of its mark?

    • Mike Engle | December 8, 2016 at 9:54 am |

      I’m not Anthony, but as somebody who can’t help but know a little bit about trademarks as a sports fan and a lawyer who took a sports law class in law school…
      If Vegas can show that College of Saint Rose failed to police its trademark against other infringing parties before, and/or that that CSR logo has been out of the stream of commerce for enough time (editorial: a logo on a coffee cup ordered through Zazzle probably gets the job done, so very low bar), then those are the likely ways a prior registration gets cancelled.
      Basically, trademarks are “use it or lose it.” If Vegas can show CSR failed to use it, the next step is to argue that they lost it.

      • Andrew Harrington | December 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm |

        CSR didn’t oppose the registration, though, at least not yet. The USPTO basically said, “Well, we have this one registered already, and I think it’s too similar.”

    • Anthony Verna | December 8, 2016 at 10:13 am |

      Oh, probably lack of use (abandonment) – it would be a legal fiction, I would guess, but that hasn’t stopped litigants before.

      I’d also guess another reason would be that the college’s mark isn’t really a source identifier of goods – depending on how the college uses the mark (more variables I won’t guess about).

  • Eltee of DC | December 8, 2016 at 9:49 am |

    I attended the first show of the 1981 Stones LA Coliseum concert with a date and 90+ thousand mostly biker type music (from where I was standing) fans.

    I was not a big Stones fan, but the girl I was dating was a huuuge fan (the things you do for uh, fun), so I forked over (scalped) an ungodly sum of around $200 for floor tickets, a huuuuge sum back then.

    What I remember of the event was seeing Prince (yeah that Prince, as in the prince of purple) for the first time – I recall the song Bambi, but what I remember most was the hail of empty beer cans and food tossed at the singer (who was wearing a trenchcoat and thigh high heeled boots and what looked like bikini underwear) by an uninterested and hostile crowd. He did get hit with a not so empty beer during his set, said something I could not understand and walked off the stage. The band played one last set without his princeness… and that was it.

    I remember Mick Jagger chiding the audience about Prince’s treatment by the fans before they began their set. The Stones themselves were, well the Stones. It was okay I guess, but not memorable other than how hot it was for October and how the fans turned on Prince.

    • Ocbee | December 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm |

      I was there too, and I have compared that day to the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

      • Eltee of DC | December 8, 2016 at 12:43 pm |

        very appropo!

  • Ted Machnik | December 8, 2016 at 9:51 am |

    Mr. Foley (owner of the Vegas Hockey Club),
    how about forgetting this nonsense and making it “Vegas Knights” and be done with it?

    Or the “Desert Knights” the “Ice Knights” or “Hockey Knights.”

    Paul, how about a nickname contest for the Vegas team!?

  • Another Josh | December 8, 2016 at 9:54 am |

    As one interested in IP (though more on the patent side, less on trademarks), this may be an effort by the USPTO to get more info from the NHL team on the record before granting the trademark rights. Sending the action isn’t a final word and allows those applying to clarify and add arguments on the record, which, if the mark is granted will help define the mark for any possible future litigation.

  • Danny Kear | December 8, 2016 at 10:00 am |

    “Office actions like these are not at all unusual, and we will proceed with the help of outside counsel in preparing a response to this one.”

    This is the important part of this overblown non-story. These happen all the time. The team will respond and the name will be approved.

  • Jerry | December 8, 2016 at 10:02 am |

    The more I see the photo shopped Under Armor logo on MLB jerseys the more I hate it. I’m terribly disappointed in MLB. It’s downright disgraceful. A small sleeve logo never really bothered me because it seems relatively unobtrusive. The chest logo is God awful.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 10:06 am |

      10 years later: “The chest logo never really bothered me because it seems relatively unobtrusive. But adding an advertising patch is godawful.”

      10 years after that: “The ad patch never really bothered me because it seems relatively unobtrusive. But going to a soccer-style design, with the advertiser front and center across the chest of the jersey, is godawful.”

      And so on. This is how the ratchet slowly turns.

      • Mike Chamernik | December 8, 2016 at 10:45 am |

        Somewhat distant future: “I really oppose these brain chips that advertisers use to read your thoughts for a better consumer experience. I remember the simpler, good old days of watching my Milwaukee InBev Corp. Brewers©.”

        • Ryan M | December 8, 2016 at 9:28 pm |

          I would hope Blernsball wouldn’t stoop that low, to have corporatized team names.

  • Dan J | December 8, 2016 at 10:25 am |

    Because when I hear “Golden Knights”, I automatically think of The College of Saint Rose…

    • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 10:38 am |

      Does that imply that St Rose’s trademark is somehow inherently less worthy of protection just because they’re small? If so I refer you to the guiding principles of the United States of America.

      • Brinke | December 8, 2016 at 11:24 am |

        This kerfuffle will go away when the NHL team makes “an honorarium to the student fund.” (Loosely quoting Dean Wormer, just watched Animal House on Netflix.)

        • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm |

          You using my logo, my colors, and my Zamboni free of charge. So, if you mention extortion again, I’ll have your legs broken.

  • Attila Szendrodi | December 8, 2016 at 10:27 am |

    I’m glad every year you remind us about the Irish cream recipe. It’s some good shit. On a related note have you ever tried making your own eggnog? Alton Brown has a recipe for an aged version that MIGHT be better than the Irish cream.

  • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 10:34 am |

    To me it’s just more proof that the NHL is run by, of and for idiots. We had the whole song and dance here with the late and unlamented Atl*nt* Thr*sh*rs, who were sold from Turner to the so-called atlanta “spirit” group, who proceeded to run them into the ground while lying to everyone in town, feuding like a bunch of idiot frat boys, and then ultimately selling out to some zillionaire from Loserpeg for a big pile which didn’t cover all the legal costs from their incompetence and intransigence and bungling. Or that moron who tried to buy the Nashville team. Or the fact that they thought for two seconds that a team in Phoenix was a good idea. For me I don’t even count armed skating as a major sport any more – MLS is the fourth of the big four. I’m waiting for these Vegas TBDs to drown at their first spring practice.

    • Adam N. | December 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm |

      MLS teams make 1/4 the money NHL teams make. Talk to me about MLS being the “fourth of the big four” when that gap closes a bit.

      • arrScott | December 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm |

        But most of that revenue differential comes from broadcast contracts, and there have been times in recent years when the NHL was on the brink of MLS-level broadcast contracts. As a broadcast entity, the NHL isn’t exactly orders of magnitude ahead of MLS. In terms of actual butts in seats per game, MLS competes with NHL (and even with NBA and MLB) in several markets.

        Point being, dollars don’t watch sports games. People do.

      • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 1:06 pm |

        Anyone who’s ever had to deal with an NHL franchise and its support apparatus knows what a bunch of idiots they are. MLS’ next television contract should put them on footing with at least the NHL and as gridiron football recedes in popularity, MLS can fill the gap. Nobody’s keeping their kids from playing soccer because it turns their brains to syrup.

    • Marco | December 10, 2016 at 9:18 am |

      Give me a list of the 100 best hockey players in the world and 99 of them play in the NHL. Now give me a list of the 100 best soccer players and none of them play in MLS.

  • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 10:40 am |

    Re the new Stones album –

    That’s cover art? I thought it was a close up of Keith Richards from the nose to his neck.

    The one Stones member whose musical skills are declining is Charlie Watts. He’s still the flat-out coolest man in rock and roll but time and illness have sapped him physically.

  • Andy Horne | December 8, 2016 at 10:41 am |

    RE: Jerusalem shop that has athletic gear in Hebrew.

    I’d be interested to see if they sell Ryan Braun (who’s Jewish) jerseys, especially since his nickname is the Hebrew Hammer.

  • Mike Chamernik | December 8, 2016 at 10:47 am |

    What if the Vegas team was named something generic like the Wildcats? Are trademark laws different for that?

    • Kevin Zdancewicz | December 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm |

      Great point. I don’t really get why this is an issue.

  • Seth H | December 8, 2016 at 10:51 am |

    Tyrone Green would call it the “Cill Fun League.”

    • Dave | December 8, 2016 at 1:06 pm |

      Subscribe++

  • Wafflebored | December 8, 2016 at 10:56 am |

    Since the logo is already done I say call the team the Las Vegas Helmets and leave it at at that.

  • BrianC | December 8, 2016 at 11:05 am |

    “Clint Evans wanted to see what the Dodgers would look like with the Under Armour-branded uniforms, so I made a Photoshop for him”

    Please don’t show that while I’m eating lunch!

  • Doug | December 8, 2016 at 11:27 am |

    Bushmills???

    That’s Protestant whiskey!

  • Jim M | December 8, 2016 at 11:53 am |

    I’ve made the homemade “Irish whiskey” at parties before. I usually add a secret ingredient – and then I can safely brand it (at least in the comforts of my own home – ha!). I also make a leaded & non-leaded version for the teenagers at the party. Probably not a good idea to get them to like the taste, but it’s all fun and they get to share in the holiday spirit.

  • Dan T. | December 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm |

    I’m also a fan of both the Stones and old-school blues, and while I’ve not heard the full new album, at least going by the videos for “Ride Em On Down” and “Hate to See You Go”, the band hasn’t sounded this good in a long time.

    “Hate To See You Go” may actually feature the best video the band has ever put out. (Hint: the Stones don’t appear in it, Kristen Stewart does.)

    FWIW, Blue and Lonesome has an 84 rating on Metacritic, with no negative reviews. Doesn’t mean Paul’s take is “wrong”, per se, since it’s all subjective, but if you were considering checking this album out remember that his seems to be about the only negative review of the disc.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 12:26 pm |

      I agree that it’s their best record in decades — which, considering how awful their output has been since 1981, is the very definition of damning with faint praise.

      As for MetaCritic, it’s become the Yelp of reviewing. No need to bother reading what anyone’s written, no need to develop relationships with individual critics and learn their tastes and biases — just look up the MetaCritic score. After all, cultural criticism can be reduced to a number. Sigh.

      • Dan T. | December 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm |

        Paul, you’re right, but I don’t see why this is a problem…if the role of the critic is to help steer people towards quality music, films, etc. so we’re not wasting our money on stuff that sucks, then MetaCritic helps amalgamate reviews to give us an overall picture of what is good and what is not…and then you can still drill down to read the individual critic’s work if you want more in-depth analysis.

    • DJ | December 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm |

      “Ride ‘Em On Down” is the video with Kristen Stewart. And a 60s Mustang. Painted blue.

      • Dan T. | December 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm |

        My bad, watched them both a couple days ago and got the titles mixed up.

  • Tom Reynolds | December 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm |

    Your piece on possible trademark infringement by the new Las Vegas hockey team reminded me of an issue that I meant to ask about in the past. Pitt State (the Gorillas)in Pittsburg, Kansas has used an almost identical “Script Pitt” as that used by the University of Pittsburgh in the 70’s and 80’s. After an internet search, I noticed that Pitt State’s logo has been altered. Does anyone know if they were obliged to do so because of a complaint by the University of Pittsburgh? (I am originally from Western Pennsylvania, but live in Kansas City. I see Pitt State’s lookalike logo on license plates and apparel everywhere here.)

  • Karim | December 8, 2016 at 12:43 pm |

    Paul,

    Can you recommend an album or two to listen to from the Chicago blues era? Thanks.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 12:50 pm |

      Most of the classic Chicago stuff has been repackaged and re-repackaged countless times, so the albums in my collection aren’t necessarily the ones that are still available now.

      With that in mind:

      – Robert Nighthawk’s ‘Bricks in My Pillow’ is still available on CD. Get it.

      – Ditto for Otis Spann’s ‘Otis Spann’s Chicago Blues’ album.

      – See what’s currently being packaged as the “best” of Little Walter’s material on Chess.

      These aren’t necessarily the all-time greatest Chicago blues albums, but they’re very, very good, very representative of the era, and extremely accessible. Excellent starting points.

      • Karim | December 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm |

        Thank you, Paul! Can’t wait to give these a spin.

    • scottrj | December 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm |

      Howlin’ Wolf – “Rocking Chair” album
      Magic Sam – West Side Soul
      Otis Rush – Cobra Recordings

      • tosaman | December 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm |

        Thanks for this list Paul and Scott. What’s not at my library are now on my gift list.

        As a jumping-off point, allmusic.com does an excellent job. It’s Artist Overview section lists influencers, contemporaries, and followers. I’ve made some wonderful music discoveries thanks to this site.

  • Kyle | December 8, 2016 at 1:07 pm |

    Loved this post:

    Trademark law – interesting.

    Blues! Included in a fascinating story. Can’t wait to watch that doc. It is also my favorite style of music leading me to…

    Road Trip Story! I drove the length of the Mississippi River south (using Jamie Jensen’s guide). It was my personal blues quest to the Delta and I absolutely loved it and want to do it again.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 1:17 pm |

      I drove the entire length of the Mississippi, from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to its mouth in Louisiana, in 2001. Great trip!

      Jamie Jensen has gone from being one of my heroes to one of my best friends. Great guy. He saw the Two Trains Runnin’ documentary a few days before I did (I couldn’t join him due to a scheduling conflict) and loved it. We’re gonna get together soon to discuss….

  • RobYaz | December 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm |

    Hi Paul, thanks for sharing info about Two Trains Runnin. On one of my road trips down south one of my main destinations was Money, MS, to see the ruins of Bryant’s Grocery, the center of the Emmitt Till tragedy which was a spark of the Civil Rights movement. A few miles down the same road is the cemetery where Robert Johnson is now believed to be buried.
    -Rob

  • JohnM | December 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm |

    Anthony’s response/comment was very interesting but it failed to address the major problem the USPTO has. There are so many sports teams that use the same nickname, denying this application would be tantamount to discrimination. And the common nickname is not just across sports, e.g. UCLA Bruins and the Boston Bruins. In college football alone their are the Broncos of Boise State and of Western Michigan. Not to mention that the NFL’s Denver Broncos use the same nickname! So if the USPTO affirms their position, can you imagine the uproar of teams that have common nicknames, one of which would have to change their name.

  • marc | December 8, 2016 at 2:12 pm |

    “… they’re first-rate career professionals playing with state-of-the-art gear in a state-of-the-art studio. There are some raw bits on the new album, but the rawness feels manufactured or even curated, not organic. It’s more like a museum version of the blues.”

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought this same thing, not only about a band like the ‘Stones, but of every piece of re-recorded old music. There’s a charm to old recording techniques that captures a spark you just can’t find despite having infinite tracks (courtesy of ProTools, et al) at your disposal. There’s a sterility that fills the void created by analog hisses and pops that is unsettling. Live performances aren’t perfect, so why is it deemed desirable for studio performances to be glitch-free? “Perfection” is boring.

  • Johnny | December 8, 2016 at 3:17 pm |

    Do you remember when Dallas named their NBA team and they chose the same nickname as UT-Arlington? The same nickname as a college team in their metro area?

  • Eric Romain | December 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm |

    The Ontario Reign celebrating 10 years is a bunch of malarkey. New league and new roster means you’re a new franchise.

  • GB | December 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm |

    Paul, I’ve disagreed with you on a good many things during the years I’ve been following Uni Watch. But I did not know that your favorite musical genre was the Delta Blues. Henceforth onward, you can do no wrong in my eyes. Cheers

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 3:42 pm |

      Thanks, GB. I’m proud to have the same birthday as Son House and Otis Spann!

  • Lance Smith | December 8, 2016 at 4:18 pm |

    “The guitars crunch and wail at the all the appropriate ”

    doesn’t scan right. Extra ‘the’?

    I did enjoy Keith Richards talking about Bob Dylan’s Nobel and suggesting that it was only a matter of time before Richards won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • Rob S | December 8, 2016 at 4:59 pm |

    Regarding the use of outdated NHL logos, ESPN.com is still using Vegas gold for the Penguins. Which is funny since their video clips do have the correct Pittsburgh gold.

  • Dan T. | December 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm |

    BTW, guys, if you are interested in the Delta Blues you must also check out an artist by the name of Junior Kimbrough.

    Junior never went to Chicago, but played the electric blues in Mississippi at his legendary Juke Joint…his music is like nothing you’ve ever heard.

  • Wade Heidt | December 8, 2016 at 7:56 pm |

    I think the Seahawks should consider going with the lime green end zones all the time (after Sounders MLS season of course). Looks good in the photos. I like that compared to the navy blue end zones.

  • tosaman | December 8, 2016 at 8:52 pm |

    Whaddya mean, the Stones haven’t released a decent album in 35 years? ‘Tattoo You’ just came out in 1981 which was only…35 years ago. (I’ll see myself out.)

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm |

      And here’s the thing: Tattoo You, which I happen to love, was mostly old material that’d been sitting around in the can for five or six years. If you take that out of the mix, their last good album of new material was Emotional Rescue (1980), and their last *really* good album of new material was Some Girls (1979).

      Their five decades basically break down like this: two decades as an exceptional rock band and three decades as an oldies act. As David Remnick has astutely pointed out, they’ve become the world’s greatest Rolling Stones cover band.

      • tosaman | December 9, 2016 at 11:55 am |

        ‘Greatest Rolling Stones cover band.’ Ouch. But accurate.

        I would flip the ratio though. Undercover (1983) and Dirty Work (1986) aren’t good albums but at least they were still occasionally trying. For that I’ll give them the benefit.

        Steel Wheels (1989) is when they went into full ‘We’ve got a big tour coming up so we need a new album to justify it and maybe provide a song or two for the set list’ mode.

        • Paul Lukas | December 9, 2016 at 12:10 pm |

          “Trying” isn’t the same as “succeeding.”

          I think they were trying pretty hard on Undercover. They just didn’t have the goods anymore.

          Dirty Work is embarrassing. Mick was more interested in his solo career, he and Keith hated each other (“Had It With You” is Keith’s big middle finger aimed right at Mick), and Charlie was so drugged-out that he had to be replaced on many of the tracks. Miserable Lillywhite production, too, but nothing could have saved these songs. Piece o’.

        • tosaman | December 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm |

          Love it!

          We may disagree (somewhat) but we wouldn’t be discussing if we didn’t care.

  • Paul Willams | December 8, 2016 at 11:38 pm |

    The tragedy that was Mississippi is still Mississippi.The dixiecrats are now Republicans and much more subtle but still use fear and ignorance to keep control.

  • Rob C. | December 9, 2016 at 10:01 am |

    They had me at “Performances by… Gary Clark, Jr.” Man is that guy amazing.