104°F
weather icon Clear

Amateur hour defines trademark saga for Golden Knights

I sure hope the Vegas Golden Knights — we can still call them that, for now — are much better at hiring a head coach and drafting players than they have proven to be naming the team and developing its logo.

Amateur hour needs to come and go.

In a town where odds define most everything, it’s likely those trademark issues that have found Bill Foley’s team won’t lead to any changes for how the National Hockey League expansion club is identified, that those T-shirts and sweatshirts you have already purchased aren’t going to suddenly become rare and coveted items catching big bucks on eBay.

Just as long as a small, private college in Albany, New York, founded in 1920 by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, doesn’t choose to pursue the matter legally.

Which apparently hasn’t been decided.

“It is our team, our nickname, our logo, and we love it,” said Lisa Thomson, chief of staff to the university president at The College of Saint Rose. “I guess we will see what happens. It’s the beginning. For us, this is a process and not a project. To use a sports phrase, it’s the first inning. We never heard from the (Las Vegas) franchise about this. Anything is possible, I assume. It’s Day 1, but I know where the Golden Knights are.”

This is where the lunacy has taken us, to a place with 4,800 students and where Jimmy Fallon once attended college before departing with a semester to go in search of a career in comedy.

Where the chief of staff to the president on Thursday said the biggest news of the day was going to be whether or not heavy snow hit the area, until her telephone began ringing off the hook about a hockey team from Las Vegas.

The gift that keeps on giving, meaning the long and painstakingly slow process that took months for the NHL and its Las Vegas team to finally unveil the nickname and logo at a celebration outside T-Mobile Arena last month, added a new chapter to the saga when its trademark request was denied Wednesday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Here’s why: The College of Saint Rose, a Division II school that sits on 46 acres and is surrounded by Victorian-era structures in the capital city of New York, is also known as the Golden Knights. Its logo, unveiled in 2001, is strikingly similar to the one the hockey team first displayed Nov. 22.

Let’s be honest: It’s sort of a dead ringer.

“The team and its attorneys would certainly have known about Saint Rose when filing for the trademark,” said Mark Borghese of Borghese Legal, Ltd., a Las Vegas-based firm focused on trademarks, copyrights, technology, and transactional law. “It would have been one of the first things to show up. I’m sure the attorneys told the team it could expect an initial rejection based on the college. A large percentage of trademarks receive initial rejection, and whether they can be overcome or not depends on a number of factors.

“In this case, I think the team is going to be fine unless the school would decide to bring a lawsuit. It’s almost like you have the trademark world and the real world. In the trademark world, the nickname and logos are similar. The name Golden Knights is identical. But in the real world, it’s a small school in New York and an NHL team. Nobody is going to be confused.”

Why didn’t the NHL or Foley merely approach the college about signing a consent agreement, as it did others with similar nicknames and marks, that would allow the Las Vegas team to use both?

Because the school doesn’t play hockey? They’re reaching with that one.

Foley referred all questions to legal counsel while the NHL released a statement saying there are no plans to change the nickname or logo, that it believes the mark should be registered in co-existence with the college registration as others are in sports and that this is a routine matter.

Maybe, and while it’s true the team can continue to use the nickname and sell merchandise, even without officially registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has six months in which to respond to the denial, all of this appears incredibly unprofessional and sloppy on the side of the NHL and Foley.

I don’t know what, if any, action the small, private college founded by a group of nuns might take, but I assume their attorneys can think of a few ways the university and perhaps athletic department can benefit from, well, what could eventually prove Foley’s generous nature.

Foley’s representatives have said they don’t believe there is reason to strike a deal with Saint Rose, but a school with a Division II athletic department budget can always use a few extra scholarships and new uniforms, no?

I would also think the story might reach the desks of those who write monologues for Fallon, who was awarded an honorary degree from The College of Saint Rose in 2009 and has spoken about the Golden Knights on his late-night show.

This can’t be the sort of publicity Foley sought for the nickname and logo.

My guess is it all works out for his club and nothing changes.

My hope is that amateur hour with the Golden Knights (the hockey team, not college) is finally over.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
‘Helmetgate’ is sort of drama Raiders get with Antonio Brown

How can a guy like the Pro Bowl wide receiver, who works so hard on his craft — more committed and diligent and driven than anyone, says head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr — also be so contentious about something like which helmet he wears?

Don Banks, giant of NFL writers, gone too soon

Banks died in his sleep early Sunday morning at the age of 57, alone in a hotel room in Canton, Ohio, having attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies and earlier filing his first story for the Review-Journal.

 
Raiders hoping Trent Brown lives up to massive paycheck

A Super Bowl champion with the Patriots last season and then made the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history by the Raiders, Brown at right tackle will be among those protecting quarterback Derek Carr.