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da650

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  1. Thank you, yes I am wondering how a trademark can be challenged other than in the first 12 weeks. I've been making merchandise for defunct teams and being very careful about the logos I used. I applied for licensing with a league and they said they were not interested in working with me. Afterwards, they started making their own merchandise using the logo on my best selling product and said they would sue me if I did not stop using the logo. I spoke to a lawyer about registering it as a trademark since I was using it first and was told it was an ornamental design. Then the league applied for the trademark and was denied, stating it is an ornamental design because the team does not exist. With that reasoning, I believe it should apply for most defunct teams (other than major teams like you mentioned). For example, the NBA holds trademarks to ABA teams and will make a t-shirt once every 10 years or so and submit it as a specimen to renew the registration. Minor League Baseball has taken it to another level where they are taking screenshots of random eBay listings of old merchandise to renew registration. I don't believe the leagues should be able to hold these trademarks, so I am wondering how it can be disputed.
  2. Most sports leagues have active trademarks for teams that no longer exist. Looking at legal definitions including on uspto.gov all of these logos should be considered ornamental designs. There are no companies or brands with these logos or names. The specimens submitted to renew these are usually a t-shirt or hat with an old team logo on the front. It even specifically states on uspto.gov that a trademark would be refused for being ornamental in the case of "A logo on the front of a hat. The logo is associated with an organization, like a sports team, which did not manufacture the hat." To make this even less credible, you can usually see the tags for the actual company that made it in the picture. How are these leagues allowed to acquire and continue to renew these trademarks?
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