The Cup, from www.CascadiaCup.com
This is awesome.
Pacific Northwest soccer fans have been up in arms about Major League Soccer’s recent application to register CASCADIA CUP as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office — Canada’s counterpart of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Cascadia Cup is awarded to the fans of the team with the most points in a season between the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, and Vancouver Whitecaps — by the fans of those teams. It’s been around since 2004.
So why did the league lay claim to the brand in December when it applied to register the mark in Canada? It’s not theirs to register.
True, the league could be trying to make sure a rogue didn’t claim it, but from the looks of it, the league’s the rogue. As in the States, the first to use a mark in Canada generally has superior rights. Since it’s a trophy by fans, for fans, it’s unclear what business the league has to protect it.
What’s cool is the fans have filed their own application to register the mark in the States. Just last week, the “Cascadia Cup Council,” an Oregon corporation, filed for CASCADIA CUP in Class 41 for “Entertainment services, namely, a contest designed to reward and honor professional soccer teams.” The Council claims a first use date in 2004 — the first year the cup was awarded.
From the Council’s press release:
“The supporters groups in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver jointly oppose Major League Soccer’s claim of ownership of the Cascadia Cup trademark. The three supporters groups have jointly used the Cascadia Cup mark for many years and have been the rightful owners of the mark. In response to recent statements and actions by MLS, the supporters groups recently formed a new entity, the Cascadia Cup Council, which acquired the supporters’ groups trademark rights in the Cascadia Cup mark. The Cascadia Cup Council will ensure that the mark remains in the hands of the very supporters who created it.”
It looks like the Council intends to oppose the league’s application in Canada as well.
Like I said, this is awesome. All I can say is, “Go Sounders!”
HT: Rachel Buker of the China Law Blog.