An NFL team and an NBA team are duking it out over trademarks with the word “UPRISING” to be used with eSports.
What is eSports you may ask? It is professional competitive video gaming. Anyone with a teenager has probably heard of Fortnite. Fortnite is a world-wide phenomenon. Over three nights during TwitchCon (which is a Fortnite competition), Fortnite averaged around 65,000 viewers per day across Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. However, there are also numerous other video games such as Hearthstone, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Star Craft II and Overwatch, among others. Indeed, Overwatch is related to the trademark dispute involving the owner of the New England Patriots.
The dispute involves the marks BOSTON UPRISING and NORTH UPRISING. Specifically, last month, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft’s company, Kraft Group, filed a Notice of Opposition against an application filed by the NBA’s Toronto Raptors for the mark NORTH UPRISING (stylized) in connection with clothing and other merchandise that is to be used with video games. The Kraft Group alleges that the stylized mark in the application is similar in stylization and font of its applied for stylized mark for BOSTON UPRISING.
The NFL team’s owner applied for the mark BOSTON UPRISING in connection with entertainment services including electronic and video games, and various clothing and other merchandise. This BOSTON UPRISING mark will be used with an eSports team that operates in a professional Esports league for the video game Overwatch.
The Kraft Group and related entities know how important trademarks are to their business. They own many trademarks related to the New England Patriots football team such as:
- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS® (U.S. Reg. No. 2,766,441)
- PATRIOTS (& Design) (U.S. Reg. No. 4,668,420)
- ROAD TO PERFECTION (U.S. Reg. No. 4,250,317)
- PASS IT ON (U.S. Reg. No. 3,349,437)
- TROPHY TOWN (U.S. Reg. No. 3,823,236)
- PATS (U.S. Reg. No. 3,144,361)
- BOSTON THREE PARTY (U.S. Reg. No. 3,773,822)
- KRAFT SPORTS PRODUCTIONS (U.S. Reg. No. 4,619,577)
- 3GAMES TO GLORY (U.S. Reg. No. 3,031,278)
- Design mark below (U.S. Reg. No. 2,755,546), among others
The New England Patriots team is savvy with its trademarks. You may recall that the team applied for, and obtained, a registration for the mark PERFECT SEASON even though the perfect season never materialized for the Patriots. To still obtain the registration, the Patriots licensed the use of the PERFECT SEASON mark to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which produced a DVD of the 2015 state football championship game between two high school teams–Xaverian Brothers and Central Catholic. Xaverian prevailed and accomplished a perfect season, winning its 24th straight game (spanning two seasons) as previously discussed on DuetsBlog.
It will be interesting to see which team prevails for its UPRISING mark in the video gaming world.