San Francisco Giants and MLB Sued for Trademark Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on October 14, 2011

baseballCalifornia – If you’ve ever visited San Francisco, undoubtedly you’ve either seen or purchased a piece of apparel with the city name in descriptive font, honoring the city’s beloved San Francisco Giants. Surprisingly, neither the San Francisco Giants nor the MLB even own the trademark to its stylized logo and both are now being sued in federal court for trademark infringement by a company that claims it does.

Gogo Sports, a Hayward, California-based apparel company that sells sports-related t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts, applied to trademark the logo in March. When attorneys for the MLB team caught wind of this, they decided to act quickly by attempting to register the logo as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even though the famous baseball outfit has been selling merchandise with the “San Francisco” script since 1993, the trademark office denied the Giants’ application since a “virtually identical” logo was already in the system.

The refusal from the USPTO resulted in the Giants grabbing their bats and swinging away. However, after legal threats and failed attempts by the Giants and Major League Baseball to get Gogo Sports to abandon the trademark, Gogo Sports, in order to protect its right to slap the logo on its merchandise, responded by filing a complaint against the Giants and the MLB for trademark infringement.

Chances are that this case won’t go far. The Giants and the MLB have much deeper pockets to drag this case on to eternity and despite the fact that the team and the league had failed to register the trademark, federal law still protects unregistered trademarks. It will be hard to find a judge that will agree that the script logo isn’t directly associated with the baseball team.

The Gogo Sports website is currently “down for maintenance.” Most likely it came to the same conclusion and realized that getting into a legal tangle with the Giants and the MLB would only result in a judge claiming, “you’re outa here!”

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