Army challenges Golden Knights trademark; Vegas responds

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On the ice the Vegas Golden Knights are one of the most fascinating stories the NHL has ever seen.

A first-year expansion team that is contention for the league’s best record at the halfway point and is almost certain to make the playoffs, something no recent expansion team has ever been close to doing.

They are also pretty fascinating off the ice as they now find themselves in an ongoing legal battle with the United States Army over their name, logo and color scheme.

On Wednesday it was reported that the Army has officially filed a notice of opposition against Black Knight Sports and Entertainment over the use of the name “Golden Knights.”

It’s been known for more than a year now that the Army was not thrilled with the Golden Knights name as it is also the name of their parachute team, and now they are officially fighting it.

Vegas owner Bill Foley is a graduate of West Point and originally wanted to name the expansion team the Black Knights (after the Army sports teams) but decided against it. In its official filing of opposition the Army uses several quotes from Golden Knights general manager George McPhee talking about the team’s name and color scheme, including this during an appearance on TSN radio in Vancouver last November.

“We were going to be the Black Knights but there’s already a Blackhawks in the league … so another name used at West Point is ‘Golden Knights’ for the parachute team.”

Chris Creamer of Sportslogos.net spoke to an attorney that said the Army’s case is “at least as good as the challenge” that forced the Jacksonville Jaguars to change their logo in 1995 after it was challenged by the Jaguar Motor Company.

On Thursday, the Golden Knights issued a statement in response to the opposition filed by the Army and included a little bit of snark (bolded for emphasis).

“In the Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Army filed its opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights’ applications to register the trademark VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS used in connection with the sport of hockey.  We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team.  Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game. That said, in light of the pending trademark opposition proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time and will address the Army’s opposition in the relevant legal forums.”

[H/T SportsLogos.net]

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.