Sad Raiders Fan Tries To Keep Team In Oakland By Squatting On Trademark

from the that-won't-work dept

I’m not certain why people think this will work, but there seems to be an idea floating around a few of our fellow citizens that they can simply force their favorite sports teams to do what they want by filing trademarks for things they never intend to use. You may recall the story about a jackass in North Dakota who wanted to prevent the University of North Dakota from changing its name from The Fighting Sioux to, well, anything else that had been suggested by filing for trademarks on all the other things that had been suggested. Such a strategy was doomed to fail from the beginning for any number of reasons, but mostly because you actually have to be using what you’re trying to trademark in commerce in order to get it approved, and trolling isn’t a commercial enterprise as far as I know.

Now we have another story, though it shifts from one of trolling to one of simple sadness, as a Raiders fan who doesn’t want his team to move to San Antonio, as reportedly might soon happen, has decided to launch a preemptive strike by filing for a trademark for “San Antonio Raiders.”

An Oakland Raiders season-ticket holder who wants the team to remain in the East Bay has filed a trademark application for the name “San Antonio Raiders.”

“I figured if I took over the name, San Antonio Raiders, I could force (the team) to stay in Oakland,” Lane Blue of Fresno, California, said in a phone interview.

I’m loathe to heap any real anger upon a Raiders fan, because it seems to me that life as a Raiders fan must be so horrible so as to warp the brain to some degree, but anyone with a bare minimum of knowledge of how trademarks work knows this isn’t going to work. Again, you have to use the mark in commerce to get a trademark at all, and Lane Blue would have to show that he’s using the mark in a way with which the Raiders would be competing. Also, if the team really is planning on a move to San Antonio, it would be criminal for the team’s lawyers not to have already begun the trademark filing process. Regardless, you can expect the application to be reviewed and summarily denied.

But the larger point is that this is a symptom of what permission culture does: it makes the uninformed think that tools like trademark allow for a sort of monopolistic control where it actually doesn’t. Why does it do this? Well, because too many times trademark, and other intellectual property laws, skirt or outright cross the line into that exact sort of heavy-handed protectionism, albeit in a less obvious way.

So sorry, Raiders fan. You can’t use intellectual property to force your team to stay nearby. Now, maybe if your last name was Disney, on the other hand…

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Comments on “Sad Raiders Fan Tries To Keep Team In Oakland By Squatting On Trademark”

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17 Comments
jilocasin (profile) says:

I guess you haven't been following the stories on Techdirt.

Your quote:

“Such a strategy was doomed to fail from the beginning for any number of reasons, but mostly because you actually have to be using what you’re trying to trademark in commerce in order to get it approved, and trolling isn’t a commercial enterprise as far as I know.[emphasis mine]”

Leads me to think that you haven’t been following the stories here on Techdirt. We’ve been regaled with tales of companies who definitely practise trolling as a commercial enterprise; Prenda, Malibu, Crypto Peak, Intellectual Ventures, etc. the list is too numerous to contain with in a single posting.

Perhaps you were referring to commercial trademark trolling? I haven’t heard too much about that particular subspecies of troll lately.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: I resent this remark

There was this truck driver that had the habit of running over Raiders fans when he identified one. At one point he gave a ride to a priest. After a while on the road the truck driver saw a Riders fan and started directing the truck to said fan. Before hitting the truck driver remembered of the priest and pulled away but not before hearing a distinct bump noise. He then stopped and said: “Father, I’m deeply sorry about that Raiders fan we just got past!”. The priest replied: “No problem, son, I managed to hit him with the door!”.

Disclaimer: I didn’t even know there was a Raiders team in Oakland and I deliberately assumed they are a badminton team. Ahem.

Reverend Kil says:

... life as a Raiders fan must be so horrible..

Hmmm. Like most non-Raider fans I am sure that the writer finds it hard to comprehend a level of dedication that is so intense that we would be willing to go to whatever means is necessary to maintain the integrity of the “OAKLAND” Raider legacy. In the words of Al Davis – “Just do it”. Don’t really matter to the Nation what the rest of the world may think. We are committed. (And many of us probably should be committed!) . But hey – This thing is for life!! Raider Nation baby!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

“I figured if I took over the name, San Antonio Raiders, I could force (the team) to stay in Oakland,” Lane Blue of Fresno, California, said in a phone interview.

He might get his wish for the trademark and find it useless: the Raiders are being courted elsewhere:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/stadium/las-vegas-sands-proposes-1b-domed-stadium-adelson-meet-raiders-owner

Eldakka (profile) says:

…you have to use the mark in commerce to get a trademark at all…

1) Make a screen-printing mask for the trademarked term;
2) Open up an ecommerce website that sells t-shirts with the screen-printed trademark on it for $1000.00 each;
3) If anyone is stupid enough to order a shirt, you have the mask to make one of the t-shirts, thank you $1000.

You are now using the term in commerce.

However, one thing I have noticed, if this is the case, why/how do companies get trademarks for unreleased/unannounced products? They aren’t currently using the term in commerce as the product/service is unreleased, sometimes even secret/unknown. This is often how new products/strategies get leaked when observant people notice a whole slew of similar trademark applications are lodged by a company for no known (but sometimes rumoured) product.

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