New USFL Teams Wearing Inaugural Season Patch On Uniforms

Although it uses the same logo and several of the same teams as the previous league that shared its name, the USFL is – for all intents and purposes – a new league that began play last weekend.

As a result, all eight franchises are wearing an inaugural season patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms this season.

This move could help the new league – which is owned by FOX Sports – in its legal defense against a group of former owners and executives from the original league who filed a complained in federal court in February alleging trademark infringement, false advertising and false association. 

The original USFL existed from 1983-85 as a spring league that planned to move to the fall in 1986 to compete directly with the NFL before it ultimately ceased operations.

Lawyers from the new league argue that those trademarks were abandoned as a result, which is why the new USFL includes the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, New Orleans Breakers, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and Tampa Bay Bandits – all of which played in the original league.

Last week, federal judge John Walter denied the original league’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the league from kicking off but noted the group is “likely to prevail” on its trademark infringement claim.

Whether that means the new league will eventually have to abandon the USFL and team names or have to pay damages to the original league remains to be seen.

“Although the court is letting FOX move ahead with its league for now, FOX is doing so on a foundation it didn’t build,” Nicholas T. Matich, the lawyer for the group, said in a statement. “The court’s ruling shows that the rights of the people that built the original league will ultimately be vindicated.”

The second week of the USFL season will begin on Friday when the Panthers take on the Generals. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on USA.

Photos courtesy of @USFL on Twitter.