Karen Kidd Mar. 7, 2016, 9:14am


SAN ANTONIO (SE Texas Record) – An Oakland Raiders season-ticket holder's attempt to lay trademark application claim to the name “San Antonio Raiders” is far from the first try such a thing, an attorney said in an interview.

"When San Antonio was building the Alamo Dome, a person who knew of City Council comments about the proposed 'Alamo Dome', registered 'ALAMO DOME' for various clothing items," said Ted D. Lee, an attorney with Gunn, Lee & Cave in San Antonio, in a SE Texas Record interview. "This person then told the City of San Antonio they could not use the name 'ALAMO DOME'."

A quick online search turns up a number of instances when "Alamo" by itself has been the subject of trademark disputes. Last spring, Alamo Beer Company reached a settlement agreement with Texas General Land Office that allowed the brewing company to retain the Alamo image as its brand identity. A consent order and final judgment was entered in that case in April.

 "In my experience, these type maneuvers are common for well publicized, major projects," Lee said.

Trademark application for the name “San Antonio Raiders” is being sought by Raiders fan and season ticket holder Lane Blue of Fresno, Calif. Blue claims he filed the application for the trademark to keep the team from San Antonio. If the Oakland Raiders were to decide to relocate to San Antonio, the NFL franchise might find itself negotiating with Blue.

Blue's trademark bid comes amid widespread speculation that the Raiders may relocate, including reports that the team's owner, Mark Davis, has secured land in San Antonio. Mark Davis was left as the odd man out during the NFL owners meeting in Houston last month. At that same meeting, the Rams relocation, back to Los Angeles, was approved by a 30-2 vote.

The Raiders could have headed off this Trademark grab attempt by submitting its own application, Lee said. "The registration of marks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office is how to defeat such maneuvers. Also, the USPTO has requirements of use to obtain and maintain a registration, plus a 'likelihood of confusion'."

Blue's chances at success are not very good, Lee said. However, given Blue's published statements that he doesn't want to profit from the trademark but is, instead, intent on the Raiders remaining where it is, success may not be the final goal.

"Ultimately, the person that does such maneuvers normally loses, but he/she can cause some major headaches along the way," Lee said.

For others high profile organizations who would rather not lose their trademark in this way, Lee said a certain amount of subterfuge will go a long way.

"The way to prevent such maneuvers is to file an “intent-to-use” application to register a proposed mark before publicly disclosing what you intend to do," Lee said.

The Raiders already maintain a public claim over much of its name and brand, as confirmed by the copyright and privacy policy on the NFL team's website.

"Photos are copyrighted by The Oakland Raiders unless otherwise indicated by appropriate photo credit," the copyright and privacy policy on the website says. "In which case, the photo file is the property of The Oakland Raiders. All marks, logotype, helmet graphics and slogans are trademarks of The Oakland Raiders and cannot be used without permission of The Oakland Raiders."

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