Fenwick trademark litigation partner Eric Ball was quoted in a Law360 story titled "Red Wings May Turn To Trademark Law To Protect Logo.”
A group of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville adopted the Detroit Red Wings hockey team’s logo as a symbol for their movement. The Red Wings publicly denounced this use of their logo, and are exploring how they can protect it in the future.
Ball noted that while the Red Wings could have trademark dilution or unfair competition claims, the protesters would try to raise a First Amendment defense to the claims.
Sports logos carry a connection to a team’s fans, though, and showing how use by a localized group such as these white nationalists—especially one going against the team's desire to be inclusive—could make for a strong argument for trademark dilution, Ball explained.
Ball told Law360, “Sports logos naturally have an indication of a fan base or group of people. You don't want your fans to be associated with this other group of people. The Detroit Red Wings don't want their fan base to be considered white nationalist. I think it could give them a stronger argument since there is a natural connection between a sports team and its fan base and those who wear the logo and colors."
Read the full article on the Law360 website.