NHL Says It's Infringing To Use The Keyword NHL In Your App About The NHL

from the descriptive-uses-anyone? dept

After recently posting about the NHL's over aggressiveness in claiming that a car dealership saying, "Go Canucks Go!" in its window was infringing, we were contacted by Andrea Dulko, who let us know about her experience. She had created an iOS app called Red Light District, which provides news, highlights and analysis concerning NHL hockey. It's basically an aggregator of information about the NHL. However, Apple forwarded her a complaint, saying that by simply using NHL as a keyword, it was infringing on the NHL's trademark. To put it mildly, this is ridiculous. The use was descriptive and accurate, and there's no likelihood of confusion. No proverbial "moron in a hurry" is going to see a simple app with NHL news and assume it must be from the NHL itself. Either way, Dulko decided to pull the keyword, but she also more or less stopped updating the app. Congratulations, NHL, on taking the fun out of fans promoting you.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    So... Is Techdirt going to be sued too?

    I mean, this article does have the tags "app" and "nhl".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    caliburn, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:03am

    I think they need to go after someone wealthy who can fight back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Jeff, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:03am

    So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    1: The countrywide stick and puck league

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:13am

    Re: So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    So now you are infringing on Countrywide's trademarks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    AJBarnes, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:46am

    Fans?

    Maybe they just don't deserve them. I have quit watching almost all professional sports. I used to be able to go to a baseball game and have a hot dog and drink for about $10. Today, it costs almost $100. Basketball? They took all the class out of the game when they dumbed down the rules. Traveling, goal tending... all gone. It's just who can slam dunk with the most noise. And football? Same money grab as the others.

    So I just switched to the minor leagues and now watch professional college sports.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:47am

    Simple, Pro-IP solution...

    ...let's just eliminate everything NHL (oops...sorry) from the Internet. Then roll in laughter when fans can't find scores, directions, tickets (!), licensed merchandise or anything else. After all, we can't tell what's an officially licensed referece to their silly initials so best to be safe and take that acronym off the web. Make an example of the narrow-minded NHL (dang, did it again) by wiping them off the face of the electronic earth. As always, the lesson is to be careful what you wish for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Jeff, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    Couldn't have .. I didn't capitalize :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    josh, May 11th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    just call it the N word

    Just avoid it by calling it the N word.

    "Check out this N word app"

    Issue resolved

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    Re: So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    "The Stick an Puck League That Shall Not be Named" or is that infringing on JK's trademark?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Tirade Marks

    Intellectual Property is like waking up from a bad dream to find out that you're signed up with AT&T.

    Is that use a tirade mark infringement? No. I'm not attempting to cause confusion. In fact, I wanted you to know exactly which cell phone carrier I meant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    The first rule of fight club is don't talk about fight club

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    dcee (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    Well, the NHL probably went to a Crash Course On Infringement by the UFC.

    Wow, I used NHL and UFC in the same sentence. Any lawyer reading this? I might need legal counsel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    halley (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re: just call it the N word

    The phrase "the N word" is about as irrelevant, inflammatory and base attention-grabbing as the phrase "Red Light District." Well played.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    SmileyWorld would like to speak with you regarding your unlicensed use of our Trademark.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So let's come up with some REALLY GOOD alternate names to call them.

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office would like to speak to you regarding your unlicensed use of the word "Trademark".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    NullOp, May 11th, 2011 @ 8:52am

    Do you think....

    Personally I think it would be of great value if we could kill all the free advertising that goes on. I don't know when it became popular to wear advertising but I find it very distasteful. IMHO, cover up all the logos on your clothes or, better yet, don't buy clothes with logos! And as for the NHL...they need to get over themselves!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re: Tirade Marks

    "Intellectual Property is like waking up from a bad dream to find out that you're signed up with AT&T."

    Oh, that's happening to me. I currently have T-Mobile.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    PRMan, May 11th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Simple, Pro-IP solution...

    And strangely, they already learned this lesson about 10 years ago. Jim Rome used to be what he called "the biggest pimp for the NHL" and talked about them way more than they deserved ratings-wise because he liked hockey.

    Gary Bettman tried to control what he talked about and he quit talking about them at all for about 7 years.

    You would think they would keep this in mind before suing people that are using the trademark as a reference only.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Ben Strom (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 10:53pm

    It's kind of sad considering how digital-friendly the NHL has been recently in terms of allowing game clips on youtube, posting all their highlights and allowing remixes, etc. etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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