MLB Drops Trademark Opposition Against WalletHub For 'W' Logo After WalletHub Bows At The MLB Altar

from the petty-stuff dept

You may recall that several months back we wrote about Major League Baseball getting into a trademark dispute with Evolution Finance, who operates a website called WalletHub. The reason for the dispute was that WalletHub's logo was a white "W" on a green background, which MLB thought was too similar to symbols used by the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs teams. That Evolution Finance wasn't in even remotely the same industry as two major league baseball teams is a fact that appeared to escape MLB, as the league actually had the stones to claim that customers might be confused between the "W" symbols. Adding to the silliness of it all was the simple nature of the logos.


The top left image is a registered logo for the Washington Nationals baseball team, the bottom left is the registered "W" flag the Chicago Cubs fly whenever they win a game, and the logo on the right is WalletHub's. Yes they all look somewhat similar...because they're all basically just the letter "w." Similarity or no, the idea that WalletHub's logo might cause a human person with a human brain to think that it was associated with Major League Baseball requires the kind of thinking that I'm not capable of.

But all has ended well, it appears. MLB has agreed to drop its opposition to WalletHub's trademark application after the latter agreed to amend the application to absolutely needlessly clarify that it wasn't a baseball team.

The addition of a single sentence ended a lengthy period of negotiations over trademark infringement allegations over how the letter "W" was used in logos between D.C.-based Evolution Finance's financial information company WalletHub, the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball. With that, MLB's complaint was dismissed July 14.

Evolution Finance’s original filing said it was “creating an on-line community for users seeking financial information to participate in discussions, get feedback from their peers, read and customize their news” and other services. But the new trademark application also adds “all the foregoing not relating to baseball or softball or to a baseball or softball team, league, mascot or stadium.”
If pettiness were a sport, MLB's lawyers would be winning the pennant. Honestly, this sounds more like a legal team extracting some kind of action out of an opponent simply to justify its own existence rather than an action with any actual legal interest. But, hey, trademark, amirite?


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 25 Aug 2015 @ 4:24pm

    Legal Staffs and Armies

    Both of them decay in garrisons. They have to go out and fight every so often to keep the training levels up.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2015 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Legal Staffs and Armies

      That's why the military have training exercises with other units and agencies, they don't go out kicking kindergarteners around to keep their boots shined...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2015 @ 4:40pm

    so they effectively banned anyone from reviewing anything baseball related via the site

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2015 @ 5:10pm

    They should add that clarification to their trademark.

    "W*"

    "* Note: not a baseball team."

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

  • identicon
    Whoever, 25 Aug 2015 @ 5:35pm

    What the lawyers thought:

    "Doesn't matter. Got paid".

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

  • icon
    El Mariachi (profile), 25 Aug 2015 @ 5:51pm

    Walgreens Nationals

    That’s pretty rich coming on behalf of a team that uses the Walgreen’s W on their caps:

    https://myboyfriendlikesbaseball.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/walgreens-nationals2.jpg

    (I’d make a joke about the Cubs not having much occasion to display a W, except they’re doing pretty well this year.)

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

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 25 Aug 2015 @ 7:11pm

      Re: Walgreens Nationals

      Doing well? Yeah, I'd say the 4th best record in all of baseball while starting 4 rookies qualifies for that at a minimum....

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 26 Aug 2015 @ 4:23pm

        Re: Re: Walgreens Nationals

        It wouldn't be the first time. They'll tank / choke eventually. It's what they do. It's their IP, ffs.

        I've always liked the Cubs, btw, but then I like the Mets too, so what's that worth?

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

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 25 Aug 2015 @ 6:54pm

    The top left image is a registered logo for the Washington Nationals baseball team, the bottom left is the registered "W" flag the Chicago Cubs fly whenever they win a game,(...)

    ... and they somehow don't have a problem with each other? Two teams - two baseball teams - sport the letter "W" with roughly the same choice of colors ("blue over white" vs "white over blue")... and they both have a problem not with each other but a completely unrelated company (a financial one) that uses the same letter with a different color choice.

    That's not a trademark issue. It's clearly a "too much time to waste" issue.

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

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 25 Aug 2015 @ 8:17pm

    Should have added a second sentence

    "We emphatically distance ourselves from anything baseball-related since we don't want to be even remotely associated with an organization who's douchebag lawyers have nothing better to do than harass unrelated small businesses like ours."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2015 @ 4:00am

    this sort of stupidness could only happen in the USA, home of the 'lets sue someone for breathing' today and cant understand why they lose!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2015 @ 9:29am

    "the kind of thinking that I'm not capable of"

    I'm not capable of thinking how or why those three 'W' images can get trademarked to begin with! To my eyes they're too generic for trademark.

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 26 Aug 2015 @ 4:17pm

    But, hey, trademark, amirite?

    No, lawyers, abetted by asinine laws from a boneheaded Congress, corrupt (eg. East Texas) courts, and misinformed corporate twits believing their imaginary property deserves to be fought for. :-P Who's next, Walmart, Wahlgreens, or maybe we should just start over and begin at "A" following through to "Z"?

    How much did this silly mess cost, bottom line? Who lost money (and time & effort), who gained money (lawyers), and what does society gain from entrail stirring episodes like this? Multiply by how many times per year !@#$ like this happens.

    So much static in the system, very much ado over nothing.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.