Thursday, January 26, 2012

Website, Team Name Issues for A's if San Jose Approved

The A's are serious about moving to San Jose, but, to date, they have yet to get serious about long-term branding and securing key intellectual property. You may recall that the NBA's Sacramento Kings, seemingly at the cusp of moving to Anaheim, last year registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office the following names: Anaheim Royals, Anaheim Royals of Southern California, Orange County Royals and Los Angeles Royals. This is smart business, as the last thing a team (or company) wants is to be blocked when adopting a new brand. You can do the search yourself, but no trademarks have been filed by the A's for any San Jose or Silicon Valley related monikers.

The assumption is that the A's intend to move to San Jose in which case (and I am not a trademark attorney mind you) the team, like the Kings, should be able to file under the "intent to use" basis. Here is an excerpt on such a filing from the USPTO's website:

If you have already used your mark in commerce, you may file under the "use in commerce" basis. If you have not yet used your mark, but intend to use it in the future, you must file under the "intent to use" basis. This means you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce; that is, you have more than just an idea but are less than market ready (for example, having a business plan, creating samples products, or performing other initial business activities).

The A's may be holding off as the move is still a ways away and also because such a move might upset Pro-Oakland fans even more (assuming this is still possible).

An important caveat here is that the city of San Jose has stipulated that if the A's were to move there, the team would have to include "San Jose" in their name. I didn't search for "Silicon Valley Athletics of San Jose" but that name is almost as unpalatable as "Oakland Athletics of San Jose" (also not registered).

And the Website?

The other glaring intellectual property issue for the team to address is its website domain. The A's main site today is oaklandathletics.com. The team does not own athletics.com. Per Who Is, that site is owned by Net Athletics, Inc. and expires in 2016. In terms of San Jose sites, the team is pretty limited:

sjathletics.com -- Registered through 2015
sanjoseathletics.com -- Registered through 2014

When these sites are close to expiration owners would be foolish not to renew being as they will command a pretty penny from the team should a move be approved. However, even without MLB approval, why not work to get these sites now, park them and then use them as the basis for a PR campaign to woo South Bay fans? Just like the surrounding a potential new stadium, prices are bound to be lower before a decision to build is made.

1 comment:

  1. Into trademark registration process comprehensive trademark search is a very essential. An experienced trademark attorney can provide legal advice about filing an application by this comprehensive search.

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