The U.S. Army has filed a challenge with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to the Vegas Golden Knights’ name, saying that it is associated with its parachute team as well as recruiting.
In its filing Wednesday, the Army contends the NHL franchise “has chosen and used a similar black+gold/yellow+white color scheme on uniforms, marketing, advertisements and its hockey arena, mimicking the opposer’s colors and further adding to the likelihood of confusion of the public.”
The Army says it has used the Golden Knights name since 1969 and that it owns “common law rights in color scheme black+gold/yellow+white.”
The Army does not have any trademarks filed for Golden Knights, ESPN reported. According to sportslogos.net, Army and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., requested extensions to the deadline to contest the name earlier this year. The college requested another extension Wednesday.
The hockey team, which started play this season, has until Feb. 19 to respond to this notice or risk having to forfeit the trademark.
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1967. The Army’s notice of opposition cites a June 2017 article in The Washington Post in which Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee mentions Foley’s connection.
“Bill Foley is a West Point guy, sort of using those colors,” McPhee told the newspaper. “You know his history at West Point. You know about the classmates he had lost serving this country. So, those colors mean a lot to us.”
The Army’s filing also mentions a tweet from TSN that quotes McPhee as saying, “We were going to be the Black Knights, but we already had the Blackhawks in the league, so the league was trying to get us to come up with another name, so another name used at West Point is the Golden Knights for the parachute team.”
The team took issue with the Army’s position.
“We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team,” the team said in a statement. “Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game.”
— Field Level Media