Trademark

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
logos, overwatch, sports, trademark

Companies:
mlb, overwatch league



MLB Mulls Over Opposing Trademark For New Overwatch League Logo

from the swing-and-a-miss dept

It's no secret that Major League Baseball has proven themselves to be happy bullies regarding its trademarks. Between thinking it owns the letter 'W', forgetting that fair use exists, and its decision to bully amateur baseball leagues, the legal staff for MLB has shown that they can produce some really head-scratching moments.

Which brings us to the present, in which Major League Baseball has asked for an extension to decide if it wants to oppose the new logo for Overwatch League, the eSports league dedicated to playing -- you guessed it -- Overwatch.

As noted in a post on the website of law firm Morrison / Lee, the Overwatch League’s logo was approved for a trademark on March 28. Under the standard practice of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this meant that any other parties with trademarks of their own had one month to respond to the logo—either to oppose it outright or to request more time to be able to oppose—before the logo’s trademark would actually be registered. Just one day before the end of that 30-day window, MLB filed for a 90-day extension to investigate the likeness of the OverwatchLeague’s logo to its own and potentially oppose it. Their request was considered valid and they were granted the extension immediately.

The extension expires in mere days, so we're all going to find out very soon if MLB thinks it should oppose the trademark for the following logo, helpfully placed next to the MLB logo so you can decide for yourself how confusing any of this is.

So, let's just get the obvious out of the way: these logos look nothing alike and will not cause any confusion. Period. Other than having a white outline of a "player" of each sport separating two colors and some words on the bottom, there's nothing even similar here. The colors are different, the outlines are different, the names of the leagues are both different and specifically descriptive. Confusion is simply not going to be a thing in this case.

But let's say you're not convinced. Fine. Please tell me if the following logo also confuses you.

Of course it doesn't. The NBA uses a logo with the same style and yet MLB is not at their throats over it. That's because this logo style for sports leagues is fairly standard and there hasn't been issues with confusion before.

Perhaps as MLB's legal staff considers whether to oppose Overwatch League's logo, they'll happen to come across this post. If they do, I have but one bit of advice: don't.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:03pm

    Commonality

    There is something else in common between the two logos, the word League. So the question becomes, is it the management of MLB or their lawyers who are trying to decide if they own the word League, or can get away with claiming so?

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

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:04pm

    What ever happened to people being flattered by an homage? Now everyone's just looking for a reason to get pissed off.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:27pm

    According to the designer, the NBA logo is a direct derivative of the MLB logo. That's interesting.

    Gut I have seen many logos over the years that use similar design features. It's part of the nature of a simplified logo, especially if you didn't want to have to print in sixteen colors on stationery and business cards and equipment. But are we confused by the logo of North American Moving?

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

  • icon
    tom (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:16pm

    The NFL logo has a similar simplistic design with similar colors.

    Not sure how a running silhouette with a gun is close to confusing with a static silhouette with a bat watching a ball.

    Unless MLB is planning on creating a 3rd league called Overwatch and have already filed that application, don't see any confusion there either.

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

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:21pm

    The NBA logo actually does more for the MLB logo than it hurts - specifically making that style the unofficial style for major league sports in the US.

    With the NBA logo already out there with the same style and nearly the same colors means that the Overwatch logo isn't even in the same league. It's got some similar features, but not enough to make it matter.

    MLB can mull all it likes, but I can't see them standing a chance here.

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

  • identicon
    DOlz, 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:40pm

    Copyfraud

    Even game MLB tries to claim it has complete control over the facts of the game. Here’s how one person had a little fun with it.

    https://consumerist.com/2009/09/03/mlb-wont-give-me-permission-to-describe-game-to-friend/

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:52pm

      Re: Copyfraud

      Reminds me, 'It is better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission'...depending on which litigious asshats you intend to need permission or forgiveness from.

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

  • icon
    merk (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:08pm

    MLB logo

    The overwatch logo might remind one of a fielder chasing down a fly ball... But it took me quite some time to dream that up. The colors, etc.... nope. I'm not confused. Perhaps the MLB lawyers need their own logo: the shape of the base paths joined and turned on it's side: a square!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:33pm

    Of course it is confusing... look at the orientation of those logos!

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

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:21pm

    This about sums it up

    I hate having to ask for clicks, and don't whinge about the quality either. Enjoy!

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

  • icon
    NaBUru38 (profile), 22 Jul 2017 @ 10:56am

    Also the old Indy Racing League had a blue / red silhouette logo.

    Anyway, nobody would ever confuse Overwatch with baseball. I mean, they are totally different demographic groups.

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

  • icon
    bwburke94 (profile), 23 Jul 2017 @ 4:12am

    Just a heads-up, you used an outdated version of the NBA logo. They updated it this summer.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2017 @ 11:43pm

      Re:

      While true, it's really not significantly different for the purposes of this commentary. Plus, the issue would be how long the old logo and the MLB logo have co-existed for so long without issue, so the new logo would be irrelevant to this story in any case.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 1:05pm

    You could throw in the PGA logo, the NFL (although same colors, just the shield), and the WNBA, although they went with Orange (I guess orange really is the new black.)

    Fun fact, the NBA used Jerry West as the silhouette of the shooting player.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2017 @ 2:43pm

    Well Duh

    The infringement is clearly the rounded corners.

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


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