Another update on my long-running series of posts following the NHL’s newest hockey team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and their embattled trademark applications for VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS that were filed nearly two years ago.

Most recently I posted about a challenge to the trademark applications by the U.S. Army, who opposed registration of the VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS marks in connection with professional ice hockey exhibitions. The Army alleged likelihood of confusion, among other claims, based primarily on the Army’s prior use of a GOLDEN KNIGHTS mark in connection with the Army’s parachute demonstration team.

The hockey team announced last week that they had settled the dispute by executing a co-existence agreement, in which the Army agreed to withdraw the opposition proceeding and allow the hockey team to register the VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS marks, while the hockey team agreed the Army would continue using the Golden Knights name for its parachute team.

This type of settlement involving a co-existence agreement is quite common in opposition proceedings. It is also not surprising for a couple other reasons. As discussed in my last post, the Army would have had a difficult time establishing the necessary “relatedness” factor for its likelihood-of-confusion claim. Although both parties technically are offering types of “entertainment” services, it would have been difficult to show that professional ice hockey exhibitions and parachute demonstrations are sufficiently related to cause likely confusion.

Furthermore, the financial support for the Army by Bill Foley (the owner of the hockey team) may have been a factor that encouraged an amicable settlement. Foley is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and is the biggest donor to its athletic program. Due to his $15 million donation, Foley’s name is on West Point’s athletic center.

Now that the Army has withdrawn its opposition, the VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS marks will likely register in the next couple months. This was a difficult road to registration in light of the various Office Actions and other challenges discussed in previous posts. But it was well worth the effort, in light of the high value of the team’s brand, especially due to the team’s quick competitive success and business growth. The Golden Knights made it to the Stanley Cup in their first season, and the team sold more merchandise last year than any other other NHL team.

  • James Mahoney

    Of course they sold more merchandise than any other NHL team–duh, nobody had any Vegas Golden Knights merchandise before last season. When you start from nothing, even with a team of dubious quality, you’re bound to sell like hotcakes as the “original” fans suit up. They’ll hit sales parity pretty quickly, even with their Cinderella start.

    • Tucker Chambers

      James, thanks for reading and for all your comments on this series of posts, much appreciated. Your prediction two years ago (that parachutists wouldn’t be confused with skaters and that the Army was firing blanks) was spot-on. And your thoughts on the merchandise sales make sense as well. I’m looking forward to next season, we’ll see if they can repeat their early success.

      • James Mahoney

        Thanks, Tucker. Here’s another prediction for you: While the Vegas skaters won’t be confused with parachutists, they will have something in common this season. Both will come down to Earth. ;-)

        • Tucker Chambers

          Hah! I won’t bet against that prediction either, James. Thanks again for stopping by. :)