The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the best stories of the NHL season, with a surprising 29-10 record and 60 points (most in the Western Conference) in their first year of existence. Attendance has been strong, and the team has gained admiration from fans across the league.
And now, if the U.S. Army has its way, the Golden Knights might have to pick a new name.
As first reported by SportsLogos.net, the Army has filed a challenge with the United States Trademark and Patent Office, claiming the Golden Knights’ moniker, combined with the team’s color scheme, is too similar to that of West Point’s sports teams. Most Army programs use the nickname “Black Knights,” but the parachute team goes by “Golden Knights,” and the school’s official colors are black and gold.
In the filing (which you can read here), Army argues that the Golden Knights have “chosen and used a similar black+gold/yellow+white color scheme on uniforms, marketing, advertisements and its hockey arena, mimicking the opposer’s colors and further adding to the likelihood of confusion of the public.”
As Army points out, the Golden Knights’ resemblance to the West Point team name/color scheme is no coincidence. Vegas general manager George McPhee has said that the team colors are a nod to owner Bill Foley’s alma mater and that the franchise might have been named the Black Knights if not for the Blackhawks already existing.
George McPhee @GoldenKnights : We were going to be the Black Knights, but we already had the Blackhawks in the league, so the league was trying to get us to come up with another name, so another named used at West Point is the Golden Knights for the parachute team #NowYouKnow
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) November 14, 2017
The Golden Knights issued a statement Thursday arguing they had been coexisting alongside Army’s sports teams for over a year without any confusion and should therefore not be forced to change their name.
“We strongly dispute the Army’s allegations that confusion is likely between the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Vegas Golden Knights major-league hockey team. Indeed, the two entities have been coexisting without any issues for over a year (along with several other Golden Knights trademark owners) and we are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game. That said, in light of the pending trademark opposition proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time and will address the Army’s opposition in the relevant legal forums.”
This is not the first time the Golden Knights have faced a trademark battle. In December 2016, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the team’s request for a trademark for fear of confusion with the College of St. Rose, which also uses that nickname. That dispute remains unresolved.