NFL News: Washington COs may be forced to change their team’s name again

The process of rebranding Washington commanders took years. Now a huge issue could pressure the team to rebrand again,

This week, the Commanders had their federal trademark application denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which could force the team’s hand to move forward without trademark protection – this which would be a death knell in terms of merchandising.

The USPTO was concerned that granting the mark would “probably cause confusion” with the “Commander’s Classic,” the annual college match between the Army and Air Force. This is due to both organizations sharing the name “commanders” and being involved in football. If that decision stands, it means the NFL’s Washington commanders wouldn’t be able to defend its name when it comes to merchandise, potentially opening the door for counterfeits to flood the market. These could not use the team logo, which is copyrighted, but the name and colors could be duplicated.

It is important to note that this is very early in the process. The team has already begun a three-month appeal process to argue that there is no confusion between NFL commanders and a college game. To be fair, there seems to be a leg to stand on here, as I don’t think many football fans would honestly confuse the two entities – but this is a federal government agency, and logic doesn’t. is not always a strong point.

The team is confident that it will win the appeal. However, there is always an outside chance that they will be rejected again, which would probably lead to another rebranding. The benefits of retaining the name of unbranded commanders are considerably worse than the embarrassment of rebranding.

This is where things get awkward. Martin McCauley, a 64-year-old real estate agent from Alexandria, Va., became the main brand holder when the team initially announced it was moving away from its old racist moniker. Filing dozens of potential team names under his ownership, McCauley has been called a “brand squatter” by fans who believe he delayed the renaming process. Over the years, McCauley has hit back, saying it was in the name of altruism – and that he wanted to protect potential team names rather than a real squatter holding a name hostage. He reportedly offered to give one of his names to the team for free, but it’s unclear if that’s really true or not.

This is why the rebranding process is more complicated than it seems at first glance. With favorite names like Red Wolves, Veterans, Americans and Arrows all owned by McCauley, there is a significant risk that he will further delay the process.

The USPTO is scheduled to hear the Commanders case again in August. Whatever happens, we won’t see a rebrand in 2023, but if the team loses its appeal, there’s a good chance we’ll see the Washington Commanders play in 2023, before announcing another search for a new name.

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