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New Team Owner Files ITU Applications for OKLAHOMA CITY SUPERSONICS

Seattle%20Supersonics%20logo.gifAs sports fans everywhere know, after 41 years, Seattle has lost its beloved basketball team. The one thing that seemed right about the City of Seattle’s settlement with Clay Bennett’s Professional Basketball Club, LLC — the group that bought the team and then moved it to Oklahoma City — was that the Sonics’ name and legacy was supposed to stay here in Seattle.

That was a widely-reported term of the settlement, and the memorandum of agreement spells it out quite clearly.

The parties signed that agreement on July 2. So why did the Professional Basketball Club file intent-to-use applications to register the OKLAHOMA CITY SUPERSONICS with the Patent and Trademark Office on July 8?

Paragraph 6 of the agreement states:

“PBC agrees that it will not use the ‘Seattle Sonics/Supersonics’ team name or any logos, symbols, designs, trade dress (including, but not limited to, team colors) or other indicia associated with the Seattle Sonics/Supersonics (the ‘Intellectual Property’) for purposes of identifying its NBA team in game competition, marketing, promotional or other similar purposes following relocation of the team to Oklahoma City….”

Given this language, how does the Professional Basketball Club explain its intent-to-use application (Serial No. 77516565) filed less than one week later for OKLAHOMA CITY SUPERSONICS in Class 25 in connection with “clothing, namely hosiery, footwear, basketball shoes, basketball sneakers, T-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, pants, tank tops, jerseys, shorts, pajamas,” and many other types of clothing, including “novelty headware with attached wigs”?


And how can it explain its companion intent-to-use application (Serial No. 77516594) for OKLAHOMA CITY SUPERSONICS in Class 41 for “entertainment and educational services in the nature of ongoing television and radio programs in the field of basketball and rendering live basketball games and basketball exhibitions”; “the production and distribution of radio and television shows featuring basketball games, basketball events and programs in the field of basketball”; and many other entertainment and educational services in the “field of basketball”?

Please don’t tell me that Clay Bennett can use the OKLAHOMA CITY SUPERSONICS name and trademark without breaching Paragraph 6 of the settlement agreement just because he predictably is calling the team the “Oklahoma City Supersonics” and not the “Seattle Supersonics.”

Besides ostensibly keeping the team’s intellectual property in Seattle, Paragraph 6 goes on to say that if Seattle gets a new team, subject to certain conditions, Mr. Bennett will “transfer at no cost all right, title and interest in the Intellectual Property to such new owners, such rights being subject to NBA rules, agreements, and approvals.”

Maybe I’m just not in a trusting mood. But it’s not like Mr. Bennett is maintaining the team’s existing trademark registrations as a steward for future owners of Seattle’s future team. These filings have “Oklahoma City” written all over them.

Makes me sick.

Thanks to the Bleacher Report for the tip.

Posted on July 14, 2008 by Registered CommenterMichael Atkins in | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

Because they're not using "Seattle" Sonics/Supersonics, but "Oklahoma City" Supersonics. It doesn't say they can't use something confusingly similar, they just can't use "Seattle."
July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
Does this mean everyone city can register (My
City) Supersonics? That is complete crap.

He might be trying to control someone else from using those words on merchandise to poke fun.

For example, if someone ever pushed to merchandise JailBlazers when we had our unfortunate era in Portland, it would have been easily stopped I would guess. Though I can't imagine the public relations nightmare if Paul Allen trademarked that.

That is my guess but I am not an attorney. I just play one while I watch TV.
July 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMike
According to TARR, NBA Properties, on behalf of The Professional Basketball Club LLC, expressly abandoned both of these applications on July 15 - just a week after the applications were filed. Perhaps OKC has already come up with a new name.
July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher R. Chase

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