US Patent Office denies Washington Commanders’ trademark, team remains confident

The Washington Commanders are expected to soon be under new ownership, but the NFL team is now facing a new challenge over its name.

The franchise’s request to trademark the name “Washington Commanders” has been denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The May 18 decision was made due to what the USPTO called “likelihood of confusion” between the team and the Commanders Classic college football game between the Air Force and Army.

In addition, D.C.-area resident Martin McCaulay already submitted trademark applications for the names “Washington Space Commanders” and “Washington Wolves Commanders,” in hopes of guessing the NFL team’s name.

McCaulay previously told The Washington Post that he planned to work with the franchise and will turn over any trademarks at no cost.

Meanwhile, trademark attorney Josh Gerbin tweeted that he’s confident confusion with the college football game and matters tied to McCaulay will be cleared up.

In response to the USPTO’s denial, a team spokesman told sports outlet ProFootballTalk: “The trademark office’s recent nonfinal (sic) office action is an ordinary course step in the standard trademark registration process.” He added that the Commanders are confident the trademark registration will be issued.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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