Last week, the National Hockey League’s newest franchise revealed their name. Back in the early 1900s, Seattle had an NHL team that became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. That team was named the Seattle Metropolitans, and many fans thought the new Seattle team would revive the original name. However, Seattle’s ownership went in a different direction, perhaps to every other team in pro sports. The name is the Seattle Kraken, and the team may be about to face opposition before even drafting a team. Before Seattle releases the Kraken, it must obtain trademark protection over its name.
While rumors swirled around the Seattle Kraken name for months, Seattle decided to wait to file trademark applications until formally revealing the name. After the impressive name reveal ceremony last week, Seattle filed trademark applications for SEATTLE KRAKEN and RELEASE THE KRAKEN. By waiting to file trademark applications in the name, ownership kept plans secret and ensured a viral ceremony. However, the calculated risk included the possibility of another trademark application popping up within the past few months. Lo and behold, an eSports team filed an intent-to-use trademark application in March 2020.
Seattle Kraken vs. Vancouver Krakens?
The eSports team name differs from SEATTLE KRAKEN; instead, the name is the VANCOUVER KRAKENS. Interestingly, the teams are separated by a mere three hours, with Vancouver residing just over the US-Canada border. Sports and eSports may not be identical entertainment services, but with eSports continue to increase in popularity. In addition, traditional sports television networks broadcast eSports competitions as well. And, the VANCOUVER KRAKENS trademark application just published on July 14, 2020. If unopposed, the Vancouver team may own the preemptive rights to variations of KRAKENS across sporting entertainment services.
A trademark examining attorney will ultimately decide whether SEATTLE KRAKEN is confusingly similar to VANCOUVER KRAKENS. Had Seattle’s ownership decided to file before the reveal ceremony, this likely would not have been an issue. However, Seattle faces some adversity before even stepping onto the ice.
Finally, the NHL re-starts the season this week. The Tampa Bay Lightning play today at noon. Hopefully the team brings the Stanley Cup back to Tampa with them in a few months. Go Bolts!
Banner photo credit from https://www.seattlekrakenhockey.com/ and used under the fair use provisions of 17 U.S.C. 107.