It began as a joke, then was a pastime. Six years later, it has additionally turned Martin McCaulay into, doubtlessly, a key participant in Washington’s quest to trademark a brand new identify for its soccer staff.
McCaulay has filed for 44 totally different trademark purposes of names Washington, ostensibly, may select. His newest submitting, on July 8: the Washington Pink Wolves. That joins an inventory together with Pink Tails, Monuments, Veterans, Pink-tailed Hawks, Individuals, Braves and Renegades. There’s additionally the Freedom Fighters and the Radskins.
Washington introduced on Monday it had retired its earlier identify. It may not be anonymous for too lengthy. It additionally is likely to be attempting to trademark a reputation that McCaulay both may personal or one for which he has already submitted an utility.
“They’re going to most likely use one in every of my names,” he mentioned.
In 2014, when hypothesis centered on a brand new identify for Washington’s NFL staff, McCaulay seen folks submitting for trademark purposes on what he thought-about joke names. So he joined in, registering for the identify “Washington Pigskins.” A love for trademark purposes was born. Every utility prices $275, which he considers the price of his pastime.
The 61-year-old actuary, who has additionally written books on actual property, lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and is a fan of the Washington staff. However McCaulay says the cash he saves from not attending video games will get spent on logos.
In lots of instances, the followers who submitted for logos let the appliance die as a result of they don’t have any intent on doing something commercially with the identify. However McCaulay took it one step additional, shopping for 100 Pigskin espresso mugs and placing them on the market on-line to satisfy a requirement that helped get the identify registered. He mentioned the NFL’s trademark lawyer despatched him a letter, saying they’d permit the identify.
As he collected names, McCaulay added to his merchandise to make it seem as if he had been utilizing the trademark. He created a web site, WashingtonAmericansFootball.com, to promote his wares. However he actually had little interest in the trouble of doing so; he did not need the complications of packing up the products and delivery them and amassing earnings tax, so he deserted these efforts.
“I mentioned, if you wish to come get these items, it is free,” he mentioned. “I gave the remainder to charity. I saved just a few mugs and coasters. I misplaced curiosity within the pastime and by no means bought something.”
The logos are good for six years, which meant just a few had been on the brink of expire in 2020. Due to renewed speak about Washington’s identify, McCaulay once more confirmed curiosity within the trademark recreation. He obtained again to work: He’d test the percentages on numerous names and snatch up what he may.
In some methods he may current a hurdle for Washington, however he additionally may make the franchise’s life simpler if it needs one in every of his names.
McCaulay mentioned on July four he instructed the NFL by way of e-mail it may have his logos at no cost. He mentioned it by no means responded.
McCaulay mentioned he by no means went into this enterprise to become profitable, however mentioned, “in the event that they’d prefer to make me a suggestion, I’ll entertain the provide.” However he additionally instructed Darren Heitner, the founding father of Heitner Authorized with an emphasis on sports activities, leisure, mental property litigation and transactional work, that he has joked with the NFL about paying them to take the trademark.
Nevertheless, McCaulay has made it clear he has no want to revenue off the trademark. A transaction may go for $1.
However McCaulay is aware of it will not go like that. Washington can nonetheless file a trademark. As soon as it does, whatever the identify, it can take three months to achieve a trademark lawyer. If it is one in every of McCaulay’s names, the franchise would wish to contact him. Washington may, as McCaulay mentioned, bully him by requesting he cancel his trademark. It could probably then be tied up till 2022.
He doesn’t wish to be the explanation Washington fails to safe the identify it needs.
“There’s been some criticism on my involvement,” McCaulay mentioned. “I believe I am doing them a stable. I’ve reserved a variety of names and registered, and to me that is a straightforward transaction; you should utilize my registered trademark. … If you wish to use one which’s already registered, that looks like a strategy to facilitate the identify change.”
McCaulay mentioned he hopes his pastime helps result in a brand new identify for the NFL staff.
Expensive Mr. Snyder,
Mr. McCaulay has retained @HEITNERLEGAL to help you and your group must you be concerned about rebranding to a mark owned by our shopper. Mr. McCaulay will gladly do no matter is in his energy to clear a path for the Washington NFL staff to rebrand itself. pic.twitter.com/bnJvJlZMTh
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) July 15, 2020
“I do know Native Individuals tried for many years, saying the identify is insensitive, and so they had no success getting the identify modified,” he mentioned. “Now the subject appears to be logos. If I can do my little piece and get the identify modified and all I’ve to do is say, ‘Use my logos,’ that is good. I am not the holdup.”
One attainable identify, the Pink Wolves, may pose an issue. Arkansas State makes use of the identify and final fall despatched a stop and desist letter to the Chattanooga Pink Wolves soccer staff. Heitner mentioned that case may proceed into 2021.
“That is not what a staff needs to have,” Heitner mentioned. “You don’t need a authorized dispute.”
He mentioned if that is the identify Washington needs, it may very well be discussing it behind the scenes with Arkansas State. The college has let others use the identify. McCaulay mentioned if Washington needs to make use of that identify, it may use his trademark “at no cost.”
He mentioned he is pushing change by providing names which are thought-about favorites on odds boards.
“Rather a lot ask how a lot I spend on this and I do not give out a quantity,” McCaulay mentioned. “If I might gone to each residence recreation within the final six years and pay parking and refreshments, I might have spent greater than I’ve on this pastime and watching the video games from residence.”
McCaulay’s pastime, not less than with regards to trademarking potential names for Washington, may finish quickly.
“He is positively spent a substantial quantity,” Heitner mentioned. “If he will get enjoyment, who’re we to assault it? However what’s fascinating now’s I get the sense he is not having fun with it anymore.”
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