A Washington state author is thinking ahead of the NHL’s anticipated expansion to Seattle. Pamela Bowerman has filed a trademark application with the USPTO for the use of “Seattle Sockeyes” for her novels.
The Washington state author has been using the fictitious hockey team in her novels. The writer filed for the mark on December 21, 2017, a few weeks after the NHL invited an investment group to make a pitch for an NHL expansion franchise. The “Seattle Sockeyes” application indicates that the mark should cover “downloadable e-books in the field of fiction.” Bowerman indicates that the first use of the mark occurred in 2014. She has written a dozen romance novels involving the muscular, rugged men of the fictitious Seattle Sockeyes.
Bowerman, who goes by the pen name, Jami Davenport is the second such person to file a trademark application in anticipation of an NHL moving to the city. A Microsoft attorney has filed for the mark, “Seattle Steelheads.” The application, filed by Craig Farris, covers goods and services in Hockey Helmets, Hockey shoes, Hockey gloves and Entertainment in the nature of hockey games among other designations.
The Sockeyes mark application is a smart move by the author. She filed the application not to capitalize on the prospect of having an NHL expansion team pay for the name, but for her right to protect her already proven mark from continuing. Her class of goods or services is limited to ebooks which I would think an NHL team could live with as there would be little, if any confusion with an NHL team and a romance novel.
On the other head, the Steelheads mark is based upon an intent to use in the future. Thus, the mark has yet to be used and in order for the application to be approved, the applicant must file a Statement of Use at some point down the line. Moreover, the mark specifically relates to hockey which would be in conflict with an NHL team.
Most recently, we’ve seen the Las Vegas Golden Knights announced its nickname without securing the federal trademark. It is currently in a battle over the trademark rights to the Golden Knights mark.
The move by Ms. Bowerman makes sense from her business and creative standpoint. It’s not known what the name of the expansion franchise may be, but the forward thinking makes sense in protecting future romance novels for the author.