by Timothy Geigner

Filed Under:
logos, overwatch, sports, trademark

blizzard, mlb

MLB Comes To Its Senses And Declines To Oppose Overwatch League Trademark

from the intentional-walk dept

We recently discussed how Major League Baseball had asked for an extension with the USPTO so its legal staff could decide whether it wanted to oppose a trademark application for eSport organization Overwatch League's new logo. The request was more than a little head-scratching for a variety of reasons. As we pointed out in that post, the two logos aren't particularly similar and certainty don't appear to give ground to any confusion among the public about any affiliation between the leagues.

Different color schemes, different fonts, and clearly identified names of the league on each logo didn't give MLB much ammo for a trademark opposition. Add to that the plethora of sporting league logos done in a similar style that actually do use the same color scheme, yet don't face aggression from MLB, and it raises the eyebrow as to why MLB's lawyers wanted to even go so far as to ask for an extension over any of this.

Well, it seems that either MLB's lawyers are Techdirt readers or they simply came to their senses (I choose to believe it's the former), because the time to file an opposition has come and gone with no action taken on MLB's side.

Major League Baseball has decided not to oppose Blizzard Entertainment’s OverwatchLeague trademark filing, per law firm Morrison / Lee. As part of the OWL’s trademark review process via the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, organizations have the opportunity to oppose trademarks—and earlier this month, the MLB was reportedly preparing a challenge, along with a request for a 90 day extension.

The deadline to file the challenge and extension, July 26, has now come and gone without issue. OWL’s trademark is presumably in place, and while it could still be challenged as a trademark infringement down the road, such a challenge is unlikely given the lack of current filing.

While MLB has been happy in the past to be the bully on trademark issues, it seems it decided even this one was too silly to take on. That doesn't feel like it deserves applause as much as brief sigh of relief at one less dumb trademark issue I'd have to write about.

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  • icon
    Mike-2 Alpha (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 1:46am

    On the one hand, I'm glad they came to their senses. On the other, I can see why they considered legal action. The two logos are just so similar. Why, the Overwatch League clearly used a Tracer to make theirs!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 2:20am

    That's just cruel!

    The way you put both logos so close together confused the hell out of me! Which is which? They're so alike we might need serious scientific research to tell them apart!
    Please never do that again.

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

  • icon
    Mike (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:15am

    Possibly just a question of money. Were Overwatch from a small startup MLB may well have been the bully and opposed; but Blizzard have got some pretty deep pockets to fight their corner with.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:27am

    Dammit, I was hoping MLB was going to start issuing players guns... it might make me start watching again.

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

  • identicon
    Chuck, 1 Aug 2017 @ 7:28am


    Part of me wants to think this is a sign of things to come.

    During the Olympics last year, Overwatch did a tie-in (no idea if it was officially sanctioned by the IOC or not. likely not.) where one of the characters in the game got a fun soccer skin.

    Given that, apparently, LA is hosting the next summer games, I'd love to believe this was the MLB waking up to a potential marketing opportunity wherein they partner with Blizzard so that in 2020, one of the characters gets a baseball-themed skin. Maybe McRee? Soldier 76? Oh! Why not Genji! Baseball is as big in Japan as the US these days.

    But my realistic parts tell that part of me to STFU because this is the MLB we're talking about. Hopefully, they'll prove those silly logical parts wrong, though!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2017 @ 10:21am

      Re: Potential

      Given that, apparently, LA is hosting the next summer games

      It's Tokyo, then Paris, then (unconfirmed) LA.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Aug 2017 @ 10:34am

    Perhaps the lawyers ran the numbers & figured out Blizzard wouldn't roll over.

    So many of these cases seem to be based on "will this generate me billable hours if I can convince the client the sky is falling?"

    When all you have is IP everything looks like infringement, & acting on those impulses destroys the faith of the few who haven't figured out that IP is an abomination & needs reform.

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

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