Oh MLS, oh MLS, take another bong hit…
The notion that MLS has the right to trademark the term “Cascadia Cup” in Canada (or anywhere else) is ludicrous. There, that’s out of the way.
Now, to business. We have two months from the date of advertisement (the date the application appeared in the Trademarks Journal – so far it doesn’t appear that this application has been advertised, but I haven’t scoured all the issues since Dec. 19) to oppose the registration.
Any person (including foreign persons) has standing to oppose the registration of a mark, so long as they have a legitimate beef under Section 38 (linked above). In our case, the legitimate beef is that the Supporter’s Groups use of the term “Cascadia Cup” substantially pre-dates the date filed in MLS’ application. Also, the term (in soccer parlance) can only apply to the three-team competition between the Whitecaps, the Sounders and the Timbers. So MLS has no right to it (see above re: “ludicrous”)
While we’re going through the process of opposing registration in Canada (and, in theory, eventually applying for the trademark there), we also need to apply with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to register “Cascadia Cup.” It’s a shame that we have to do this, but if MLS is going to try to end-run their way around our intellectual property rights, we’re pretty much obliged.
While we’re going through this bullshit, each Supporter’s Group should probably also consider what sort of consolidated entity they want to maintain this kind of nonsense for each group and also for Cascadia as a whole.
I find it hard to stomach the fact that some portion of 107ist’s budget will now have to be applied to lawyers (says the lawyer), but it’s increasingly clear that we’re going to require legal ammunition to maintain our heritage in the face of MLS’ co-option attempts.
I’m hoping that all of this is old news to the board. I’m hoping that the groups already have their heads together and have found a trademark agent already. Because this is stupid, and it cannot stand.