The Oak View Groups’ trademark application for the Palm Springs Firebirds has been rejected according to a letter from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The trademark application was initially filed on behalf of OVG by Los Angeles-based legal firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in early August. On November 12th, the firm received a nonfinal office action from the USPTO citing the likelihood of confusion with the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League – regardless of the geographic term preceding the name.
“Because each party offers identical services, it is likely that consumers will perceive the applicant’s hockey services [Palm Springs] to be related to registrant’s hockey services [Flint],” states the letter. “As it is common for hockey teams in one league to affiliate themselves with hockey teams in a different league and for the affiliated teams to share the same team name.”
Essentially, the two names have the potential to create a false assumption that the organizations are intertwined.
While the group has filed additional trademarks, specifically the Dragons, Sun, Eagles, Hawks, and Falcons, they have six months to appeal the decision. I will note that it’s not uncommon for unassociated teams from differing leagues to share the same name. An example being the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.
The AHL’s Palm Springs site has updated its tagline from “We got Fire, Bring on the Ice” to “We got the heat, Bring on the ice.”