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NFL, Titans Oppose Trademark of Roughnecks XFL Logo


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It was my least favorite of the new XFL logos anyway.  Its appeal is too dependent on Oilers nostalgia, yes, but it loses all the elegance of the original.  The Roughnecks logo hardly even reads oil derrick to me.  Between the oddly perspectived H that looks more like an A with a white top, the blocked navy background, and the different line widths, it just gets a little messy for me.

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The Roughnecks brand and logo was very popular in Houston partially because it reminded people of the Oilers. No one confused the Roughnecks as a return of the Oilers, but you can argue it was intentional by the XFL to get the branding as close to the Oilers as possible but put a unique twist on it so to avoid a trademark issue. I am not well versed in trademark law to know how this will go. On one hand, the NFL shouldnt get to outright own all football related marks that have oil derricks just as they dont get to stop any team from using a black and orange tiger. However it is similar enough to raise an eyebrow and the NFL has to demonstrate they are protecting their existing trademark or risk losing it all together.

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4 hours ago, cajunaggie08 said:

The Roughnecks brand and logo was very popular in Houston partially because it reminded people of the Oilers. No one confused the Roughnecks as a return of the Oilers, but you can argue it was intentional by the XFL to get the branding as close to the Oilers as possible but put a unique twist on it so to avoid a trademark issue. I am not well versed in trademark law to know how this will go. On one hand, the NFL shouldnt get to outright own all football related marks that have oil derricks just as they dont get to stop any team from using a black and orange tiger. However it is similar enough to raise an eyebrow and the NFL has to demonstrate they are protecting their existing trademark or risk losing it all together.

The only requirement for copyright infringement is confusion. As someone else said it’s not just that it has an oil Derrick in the logo. It’s also that the team is in Houston, and shares similar colors. 

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On 1/11/2021 at 8:14 AM, McCall said:

Not all football fans are logo obsessed like us. I guarantee many would see a Roughnecks shirt with just the logo and think that it was an Oilers shirt. And if you told them it wasn't, they would say "close enough" or "what's the difference?". And THAT is why it is important to protect your brand and it's distinction.

 

But at what point does it fall upon the consumer to educate themselves?

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6 minutes ago, BBTV said:

 

At no point.  That's not how it works.

It's totally up to the customer to know what they are buying.

 

I'm sure some of you are away of the Asylum or, at the very least, the concept of "mockbusters". Basically where smaller studios create cheap films that capitalize on the success of bigger Hollywood films. They would often make the DVD cover of the film to resemble the film they are copying off in an attempt to sell their product. Now I'll admit that it's an underhanded and dirty tactic, BUT at the end of the day, the consumer needs to know they they are buying. They have to be able to tell the difference between the real thing and the fake. If someone goes to the store, finds a DVD for "Atlantic Rim", doesn't double check or even read the back of the box, buys it, and gets mad that they got the wrong film, then it's on them. And, as a parent, I have to wade through all the cheap 3rd party crap to make sure that I get the right Peppa Pig or PJ Mask toy and not some Chinese knockoff. And, if someone buys a Houston Roughneck shirt and doesn't bother to educate themself on the fact that it's not the Oilers logo and that the Oilers haven't existed in over 20 years, then the fault is on the customer. Customers can't get mad at anyone other that themselves if they don't bother to know what they are buying.

 

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1 hour ago, CrimsonBull9584 said:

But at what point does it fall upon the consumer to educate themselves?

 

"It's not my job to educate you" being applied to IP law, the goddamn tumblr kids really did infiltrate every sector of the professional class

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11 hours ago, CrimsonBull9584 said:

It's totally up to the customer to know what they are buying.

 

BUT at the end of the day, the consumer needs to know they they are buying. They have to be able to tell the difference between the real thing and the fake. If someone goes to the store, finds a DVD for "Atlantic Rim", doesn't double check or even read the back of the box, buys it, and gets mad that they got the wrong film, then it's on them. And, as a parent, I have to wade through all the cheap 3rd party crap to make sure that I get the right Peppa Pig or PJ Mask toy and not some Chinese knockoff. And, if someone buys a Houston Roughneck shirt and doesn't bother to educate themself on the fact that it's not the Oilers logo and that the Oilers haven't existed in over 20 years, then the fault is on the customer. Customers can't get mad at anyone other that themselves if they don't bother to know what they are buying.

 

 

The point of IP law isn't to protect the customer. It's to protect the owner/creator and prevent other people from illegally profiting off of their creation. It's totally up to the law to prevent that from happening. 

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14 hours ago, CrimsonBull9584 said:

It's totally up to the customer to know what they are buying.

 

I'm sure some of you are away of the Asylum or, at the very least, the concept of "mockbusters". Basically where smaller studios create cheap films that capitalize on the success of bigger Hollywood films. They would often make the DVD cover of the film to resemble the film they are copying off in an attempt to sell their product. Now I'll admit that it's an underhanded and dirty tactic, BUT at the end of the day, the consumer needs to know they they are buying. They have to be able to tell the difference between the real thing and the fake. If someone goes to the store, finds a DVD for "Atlantic Rim", doesn't double check or even read the back of the box, buys it, and gets mad that they got the wrong film, then it's on them. And, as a parent, I have to wade through all the cheap 3rd party crap to make sure that I get the right Peppa Pig or PJ Mask toy and not some Chinese knockoff. And, if someone buys a Houston Roughneck shirt and doesn't bother to educate themself on the fact that it's not the Oilers logo and that the Oilers haven't existed in over 20 years, then the fault is on the customer. Customers can't get mad at anyone other that themselves if they don't bother to know what they are buying.

 

Nothing you said has any relevance. It has nothing to do with companies protecting their trademark.

 

If a consumer was fooled into buy a product that they thought was an Apple or Nike product, but it was just some cheap garbage with a similar logo, that would reflect poorly on Apple or Nike because they'd start to be associated with cheap garbage.  While the consumer should be able to spot a fake, the trademark owner has much more at stake, and has to defend their marks.

 

You're making a totally different argument than if the NFL has a case against the XFL based on the law.

 

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It's not as obvious as the derrick, but there are similarities.  Since they're already challenging the derrick, I can see why the NFL is challenging this one too, though maybe they wouldn't have if not for the derrick.

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This isn't shocking. I said it here or somewhere when they unveiled that the logo that it  looks of a modern version of the Oilers had they not relocated and modernized with Texans colors. Titans and NFL have an open and shut case imo..

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5 hours ago, Claystation360 said:

This isn't shocking. I said it here or somewhere when they unveiled that the logo that it  looks of a modern version of the Oilers had they not relocated and modernized with Texans colors. Titans and NFL have an open and shut case imo..


Agreed. It was fun while it lasted.

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They knew exactly what they were doing, knew it couldn't last, and thought they'd make as much money as they could before the inevitable crash and burn.

 

What a perfect metaphor for the league.

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On 1/11/2021 at 6:56 PM, dont care said:

The only requirement for copyright infringement is confusion. As someone else said it’s not just that it has an oil Derrick in the logo. It’s also that the team is in Houston, and shares similar colors. 

 

I think you're confusing copyright infringement with trademark infringement. In copyright infringement, the copyright holder must show evidence of both copying and improper appropriation. Confusion has no part of an inquiry into copyright infringement. Trademark infringement on the other hand requires the trademark owner to demonstrate likelihood of confusion among consumers as to the source of the marked products (or services). Not confusion. Likelihood of confusion.

 

Likelihood of confusion can be shown by examining several factors, including the strength of the mark, the proximity of the goods, the similarity of the marks, evidence of actual confusion, the marketing channels used, the type of goods and the degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser, the defendant’s intent in selecting the mark, and the likelihood of expansion of the product lines.

 

On 1/14/2021 at 8:55 AM, PaleVermilion81 said:

 

The point of IP law isn't to protect the customer. It's to protect the owner/creator and prevent other people from illegally profiting off of their creation. It's totally up to the law to prevent that from happening. 

 

Actually, what you've said is only partially true. While trademark plays an important part of protecting businesses, one of trademark's main purposes is to protect consumers from being deceived as to the source of the marked goods. That's why the focus in a trademark infringement is, as described above, on likelihood of consumer confusion.

 

Remember, unlike patents or copyrights for which protection under US law derives from Congress's constitutional power to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries," federal trademark protection derives from Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. Because of the demands of the Commerce Clause, trademarks must be justified as a tool to make commerce run smoother rather than as a constitutionally mandated means to promote the sciences and arts like patents or copyrights. The justification for trademarks as a means to assist commerce is that trademarks serve the two-fold purpose keep customers from being deceived and keep business owners from being harmed by competitors confusing consumers.

 

Anyway, thanks for indulging me. As an IP practitioner, sometimes I feel duty-bound to clear up misconceptions here about IP, especially on a board for which trademark and copyright plays such an important role.

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So wouldn’t you say the roughnecks logo violates nearly every one of those criteria regardless? They are both professional football teams from Houston, both sharing similar color schemes, and the same iconography of the oil derrick.

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4 hours ago, Mingjai said:

Anyway, thanks for indulging me. As an IP practitioner, sometimes I feel duty-bound to clear up misconceptions here about IP, especially on a board for which trademark and copyright plays such an important role.

 

And we appreciate it when you do!

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