Will Kuhns, bless his heart, is hewing to the party line:
“We applied for trademark with the fans’ interest in mind. We want to be in a position to protect that name from parties that might be unaffiliated with our fans, our clubs or the league,” said Will Kuhns, MLS director of communications. “That’s basically why we did it.”
Source: Oregon Live
Thank you, sports marketing organization, for protecting our rights in such a way. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the mark holder is entitled to use the mark in commerce (i.e. sell merchandise featuring the mark). There’s also that small issue that MLS wouldn’t have to trouble themselves over any sort of pesky licensing arrangement with the owner of the trademark if they owned it themselves.
And, as I said in the original post about this, what third party outside the community of interest is going to try to co-opt the mark with any success? Are we talking about international knockoffs for a product that faces unyielding “your ‘soccer’ is crap” attitudes? Because that doesn’t seem like a money-maker.
I have seen a fair whack of comments that say “if the SGs were worried about this, why didn’t they trademark it themselves?” I’ll admit that it was naive to think that such measures would be unnecessary, but this comes down to the essence of fan culture. Supporters aren’t looking to turn a profit. For the most part, the SGs raise money to create art or do good work in the community. To the extent that things like the Cascadia scarf exist, they exist to raise money for the causes listed above.
We see our history, a competition that is about bragging rights and club pride, and the continuing rivalry among clubs in the northwest. MLS sees a lucrative and compelling brand that they can use to make money for their stakeholders. One of these things is not like the other. So yes, we didn’t apply to register the trademark. But that does not mean MLS gets to, whether for the completely nonsense reason of “protecting us,” or for the real reason of monetizing us.
In short, back away from our identity, you vultures.