Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLCC, the corporation which owns the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights filed a “Motion for Suspension for Settlement With Consent” with the Department of the Army last Thursday in order to “allow the parties to continue their settlement efforts”; the filing stated that “the parties are actively engaged in negotiations for the settlement of this matter”.
The motion was granted, proceedings from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in this case have been suspended 90 days; the “deadline to respond” originally set for February 19 is now April 25th, 2018.
Earlier this month the Department of the Army filed an official notice of opposition to the USPTO over the trademark registered by the Golden Knights hockey team claiming that a sports team using the same name and colours as their Golden Knights parachute team could cause confusion and damages to their brand; the Army cited numerous examples of Vegas front office staff suggesting the team was intentionally named after Army’s “Black Knights” sports teams because of team owner Bill Foley’s fondness for his days at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY.
At the time when the hockey team was reached for official response to the motion, they fired back with a bit of snark, saying they’d never received any complaints from fans expecting to see parachutes.
The big takeaway from this update is that the two sides are indeed meeting in an attempt to resolve this issue without having to go through the USPTO; it would seem this opens up an opportunity for the hockey team to keep the name in exchange for a “donation” to the Army — perhaps for new football uniforms, a dormitory, or an international airport (“Army *could* use an international airport, Mr. Foley”).
This is of course just one of the trademark issues the team is facing, there is still the potential for opposition from The College of Saint-Rose who also use the Golden Knights name for their teams; the USPTO flagged their registration as one which could oppose but so far the college has continued to request extensions to decide whether they’d like to proceed or not.
Either way Vegas seems okay (from the perspective of the Army, at least) to keep using the name for a couple more months, which would be long enough to get them through the regular season. I’m confident the two sides will come to an agreement allowing the continued use of the name one way or another, no doubt the NHL would certainly make sure it happens simply to save face.