The United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO) denied the trademark application for the Washington Commanders.
The USTPO sent the denial on May 18, citing the “likelihood of confusion” due to two other registrations.
According to the USTPO, the Commanders’ moniker could be confused with the Commanders’ Classic, an annual college football game between Air Force and Army.
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There also could be issues with previously filled applications by a D.C.-area citizen who sent applications for both the Washington Space Commanders and Washington Wolf Commanders when the Washington organization was in the midst of choosing a new nickname.
Attorney Josh Gerben notes that legally, the organization has two options: fight that the team name won’t be confused with the college football game, or come to an agreement with the citizen, Martin McCaulay, to either buy out the rights or join forces together.
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McCaulay has said he will turn over any trademarks without cost, but if he turns back on his word, perhaps it could be beneficial monetarily.
Or, in possibly the worst-case scenario, the Commanders could again change their team name to avoid all this, which would be the third time since 2020.
The Commanders adopted the new moniker with the start of the 2022 season — it had originally been the “Redskins” up until 2020 when, at long last, Daniel Snyder caved to pending pressure from fans to change the Native American slur. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the organization went by the Washington Football Team.
Snyder recently agreed to sell the team to a group led by Josh Harris for reportedly over $6 billion.