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Carolina Panthers File Trademark Opposition Against The Spring League, LLC

We’re less than a month until the USFL kicks off, but in the leadup we’ve started to see a few potential snags along the way.

Last month a new group calling themselves ‘Real USFL LLC’ filed a lawsuit against FOX and the new USFL claiming “FOX is trying to reap where it did not sow and profit from confusion among fans of the real USFL”. Lawyers representing FOX Sports have since responded to the claims

The lawsuit filed yesterday by an entity formed just a week ago is completely without merit. The new USFL registered its intellectual property rights in 2011 and is excited to launch games on schedule on April 16.  The eleventh-hour attempt to extract value from the exciting new USFL is utterly frivolous, and we are exploring all options for redress.”

Now, we have a trademark opposition coming from the NFL’s Carolina Panthers over usage of Michigan Panthers. What’s interesting to note, the opposition filing is not for the USFL’s filing, rather The Spring League, LLC.

Taking a look at the following, NFL Properties LLC claims that they “believe they will be damaged by registration of the designation MICHIGAN PANTHERS”.

Opposers Panthers Football LLC and NFL Properties LLC (“Opposers”) believe they will be damaged by registration of the designation MICHIGAN PANTHERS shown in Application Serial No. 90/480,904 (the “MICHIGAN PANTHERS Designation”), filed by The Spring League, LLC (“Applicant”) for use in connection with “Entertainment in the nature of football games; Organisation of sports events in the field of football; Organization of sports competitions; Organizing and arranging exhibitions for entertainment purposes” in Class 41. Opposers hereby oppose registration of the MICHIGAN PANTHERS Designation under the provisions of Sections 2(a), 2(d), 13, 43(a) and 43(c) of the Trademark Act of July 5, 1946 (the “Lanham Act”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1052(a), 1052(d), 1063, and 1125(c).

The filing goes on to state:

For many years, and long before the January 21, 2021, filing date of Applicant’s intent-to-use application, Opposers have used marks consisting of and containing PANTHERS and variations thereof (collectively, “Opposers’ PANTHERS Marks”) in connection with their business of organizing, conducting, and promoting the Panthers football franchise.

What does this mean for the USFL and the Michigan Panthers. Well, nothing at the moment. As we mentioned, this opposition was in regards to The Spring League LLC’s trademark application. It’s seems that if anything comes of this, then it’s possible we could see the new USFL have to deal with a similar opposition.

Although a opposition is filed, doesn’t mean that the opposed won’t be able to use the trademark. It will then be up to the courts or the two parties to work out a deal.

Do we think that this will stop us from seeing the Michigan Panthers hits the field this year? Not at all.

We’ll keep you posted as more information comes out on this situation.

What are your thoughts on the trademark opposition? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.