ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The U.S. Army has filed a challenge opposing the application of the NHL’s newest franchise to register the trademark "Vegas Golden Knights."
In a claim filed Wednesday with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in suburban Washington, the Army claims it will be damaged if the trademark is registered and says it has acquired exclusive rights to it that predate any rights claimed by the NHL team.
The Army says it has used the Golden Knights nickname since the late 1960s for its parachute team, public relations and recruiting, and claims it owns "common law rights" for the colour schemes that combine black and gold and yellow and white.
The challenge by the U.S. Army was first reported by Sportslogos.net.
The filing also says the NHL team’s choice of black-and-gold and yellow-and-white colour schemes for its uniforms, advertising and marketing adds "to the likelihood of confusion of the public" because the same colours are used on the uniforms worn by West Point’s hockey team and the paint scheme on the building where they play their home games, Tate Rink.
The action by the Army is not associated with West Point. Vegas owner Bill Foley is a graduate of academy and a significant donor.
The team issued a statement Thursday in response.
"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," the team said. "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."
The team said it would have no further comment until the matter is resolved.
An email seeking comment from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was not immediately returned.
The NHL expansion franchise introduced its name and logos in November 2016, and the Army first expressed its opposition last September. The new filing was made on the last day of an extension that had been granted.
The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York is also opposed to the filing. The school, which trademarked the nickname "Golden Knights" in 2004, has been granted an extension to file its claim, according to Sportslogos.net.
The Vegas Golden Knights have given the NHL a nice boost, and not only because they lead the NHL’s Pacific Division and have the second-best record in the 31-team league. The franchise conducted a stirring tribute to the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas prior to their home opener.