Atlanta Braves Cry “Foul Ball” Over Disney Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on December 27, 2011

San Diego – The Atlanta National League Baseball Club, owner of the Atlanta Braves, filed an objection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to many of the trademark applications filed by The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) over the word “Brave.”

Disney, in association with Paramount Resources’ Pixar Petrolium (“Pixar”), is set to release a 3-D computer animated fantasy movie entitled Brave in 2012. Originally, the movie was titled The Bear and the Bow, but Disney and Pixar changed the name to Brave in March, 2010. After private negotiations broke down this summer between Disney and the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Braves filed an objection to Disney’s’ trademark applications.

The Atlanta Braves do not own a trademark for the singular version of the word, “Brave,” only the plural version, “Braves.” However, the Atlanta Braves believe that Disney’s use of the singular version of “Brave” would damage their plural trademark of “Braves” and cause confusion to their fans. Also, the Atlanta Braves contend that they use the singular version occasionally on merchandise or on television or otherwise, when they refer to a single player on the team as a “Brave.”

While the Atlanta Braves argue that Disney’s use of the word “Brave” causes confusion, it is difficult to believe anyone could argue that the plot or setting of Disney’s movie, Brave, would cause any confusion with anything relating to baseball. The computer animated fantasy movie follows the adventures of Princess Merida in the Scottish Highlands during the 10th Century as she confronts mystical legends, epic battles, and wild beasts. However, a trademark owner has a duty to police and protect any use of its trademark or risk it being considered abandoned. Moreover, it would seem that use of the word “Brave” by both entities on apparel could lead to consumer confusion.

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