September 25, 2014

Baltimore Orioles Clinch Trademark Protection

by Guest Blogger

The Baltimore Orioles made headlines last week when they clinched Major League Baseball's American League East division. It was their first division title in 17 years.

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2014 Orioles Clinch American League East Pennant

"2014 Orioles clinch American League East pennant" by Marylandstater via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]

Having been born and raised in Baltimore, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Orioles. They were my first professional sports love. We were never season ticket holders, but I caught my fair share of games at Memorial Stadium ("Ed-die! Ed-die!") and later at Camden Yards. And thanks to Home Team Sports, I was always able to watch the O's on TV when they were on the road.

My interest was also fueled by the baseball card craze of the late 80's. Much to my wife's chagrin, I still have binders filled with Orioles rookie cards. She remains unconvinced that my prized Ben McDonald rookie cards will ever be worth anything.

By the time I left Baltimore to go to Vanderbilt in 1994, the Orioles were consistently one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. I assumed that I would be able to keep up with the O's from Nashville, but I didn't realize that the city had already been occupied by National League forces. The Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees were replaced by the Braves, Cardinals and Cubs on TV. I lost track of the Orioles for many, many years until the rise of social media made it easy to keep tabs on them. The addition of former Vandy baseball player Ryan Flaherty to the roster was also serendipitous. Now I'm excited for post-season baseball for the first time in 20 years.

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a discussion of trademark law. While Orioles fans tend to focus on protecting the stadium from invading armies of Yankees and Red Sox fans, the team has been very diligent about protecting its brand with federal trademark registrations. In fact, the team owns nearly 50 federal trademark registrations, which includes registrations covering various iterations of its logo.

U.S. Reg. No. 1,577,853 for the "Chirping Bird" logo (1964-65):

09 25 14 Blog Chirping Bird Twitter

U.S. Reg. No. 1,214,055 for the "Cartoon Bird" logo (1966-89):

09 25 14 Blog Cartoon Bird Logo Twitter

U.S. Reg. Nos. 1,649,971 and 1,793,382 for the "Ornithologically Correct Bird" (1989-97):

09 25 14 Blog Correct Bird Logo Twitter

U.S. Reg. Nos. 2,623,330; 2,645,323; and 3,308,989 for the "Lifelike Bird" logo (1998-2008):

09 25 14 Blog Lifelike Bird Logo Twitter

U.S. Reg. No. 3,438,421 for the "New Cartoon Bird" logo (2012 - present):

09 25 14 Blog New Cartoon Bird Logo

Federal trademark registration is not required, but it provides important legal benefits such as a presumption of nationwide validity and the right to use the ® symbol. Federal registration can also be instrumental in enforcing rights with Google; in obtaining user names on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter; and in combating other types of fraud and trademark misuse occurring online. When you consider that it usually costs less than $2,000 to obtain a federal trademark registration, registration provides exceptional bang for the buck.

Federal trademark registrations have helped the Orioles secure their brand for 60 years. And as documented in this video, it's a brand well worth protecting:

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.