The United States Army is going after the newest NHL team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Sports Illustrated reports that the Army filed a formal Notice of Opposition with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board claiming that "the distinctive quality of the Army’s Golden Knights mark will be diluted and consumers of sporting events will be confused" unless they refuse to register the trademark.
The Army claims they have been using the nickname Golden Knights since 1962 to refer to their official parachute team. That team has performed over 16,000 shows all around the world, including sporting events.
The Army also highlighted comments by team officials who admitted the team was named in honor of the military.
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee revealed to The Washington Post’s Aaron Torres that the Golden Knights’ color scheme of black, gold, yellow and white was intentionally selected for its similarity to a color scheme used by the Army at West Point.
The owner of the team, Bill Foley, attended West Point, and has a strong connection to the military academy.
The team issued a statement disputing the claims made by the Army:
We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team. Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game. That said, in light of the pending trademark opposition proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time and will address the Army’s opposition in the relevant legal forums.
The team has until February 19th to formally respond to the complaint.
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