Every milestone in the public unveiling of the new Cleveland Guardians rebrand has been baffling. World Trademark Review breaks it down.
Josh Gerben discusses the various elements of the trademark filings associated with the team’s rebrand.
This piqued the interest of Josh Gerben, founder and principal of Gerben IP.
“With a brand as big as an MLB team and as careful as they tend to be with their trademarks, I would have expected them to have worked something out with the roller derby team prior to launching, ” says Gerben. “It is a large open loose end to leave – not only a potential legal issue, but also a potential PR issue. So it is surprising that they don’t seem to have wrapped this up ahead of the announcement.”
“They could have been asking for sums of money to resolve this that were well beyond whatever MLB was willing to offer, ” Gerben suggests.
“The biggest challenge is finding a name that is free and clear from a legal perspective. You then have to marry that with finding a name that the fanbase is going to like. Those two competing interests make it extraordinarily challenging for a professional sports team to be renamed,” Gerben says.
But for Gerben, MLB is unlikely to want both brands to remain in the market. “MLB tends to be extraordinarily protective of its trademarks so it would surprise me if they were not able to work something out and basically as the roller derby team to change its name or phase it out in some way,” he muses.
“It depends how deep their pockets are,” Gerben admits.
Source: Arnold, Victoria. worldtrademarkreview.com. “Cleveland Guardians rebrand snafu leaves experts scratching their heads”. 12 August 2021.