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Golden Knights face trademark battle with US Army

North American NHL ice hockey franchise the Vegas Golden Knights faces a battle to retain its name, logo and colour scheme after the United States Army filed a formal opposition with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.

In its opposition, filed against the team’s Black Knights Sports and Entertainment ownership group, the Department of Army said that the Golden Knights is using a similar name and colour scheme to its military branch. The filing lists dilution, false suggestion of connection and the possibility of being brought into disrepute as the three key grounds of dispute.

The U.S. Army Parachute Team is known as the Golden Knights, while the Army’s athletics teams are called the Black Knights. In addition, the Army said the NHL franchise’s black and gold, and yellow and white colour schemes clash with its own pattern.

According to ESPN, the U.S. Army said that the NHL franchise “has chosen and used a similar black+gold/yellow+white colour scheme on uniforms, marketing, advertisements and its hockey arena, mimicking the opposer's colours and further adding to the likelihood of confusion of the public”.

The U.S. Army filing also said that it owns “common law rights in colour scheme black+gold/yellow+white”, adding that its parachute division has gone by the name of the Golden Knights since 1969.

The Vegas Golden Knights announced its name and logo in November 2016 after filing to trademark other options. The U.S. Army did not declare its opposition until September 2017, before formally filing this week.

Speaking in a statement, the NHL team denied any confusion between the two parties, saying it is “not aware of a single complaint” from anyone expecting to see the Army’s parachute team at a Vegas Golden Knights game.

The franchise said: “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.”