German liqueur company Mast-Jägermeister has filed formal opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademarks Office in regards to the new logo of NBA basketball franchise the Milwaukee Bucks.
The firm has said that the Bucks’ logo is too similar to its own, with both marks featuring a forward-facing dear with large antlers inside a circle or partial circle.
In the filing, Mast-Jägermeister said it has “established exclusive rights in the DEER HEAD Marks through use in commerce in the United States” as far back as 1968 adding that as the logos are so similar, people may confuse the two companies, or believe they are connected or affiliated.
Mast-Jägermeister, which only filed the opposition last week despite the Bucks unveiling the logo last year, added that such is the similarity between the two that if the Bucks were to have a poor season, this could impact its own business.
“Likelihood of tarnishment and damage to Opposer’s goodwill is enhanced by the fact that prospective customers who are dissatisfied with the quality of Applicant’s services will attribute those defects to Opposer,” Mast-Jägermeister said in the filing.
Katrina Hull, a partner and trademark specialist at Michael Best & Friedrich, agreed that the fortunes of the team could impact sales at Mast-Jägermeister, but added that the opposition would not stop the Bucks from using the logo, as this course of action would require a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction. However, Hull told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel newspaper that the filing could lead to some sort of settlement between the two parties.