Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Commanders’ trademark application is denied

Mike Florio and Chris Simms outline the steps for buying an NFL team and credit Jim Irsay for voicing the fact it won’t be a quick process for Josh Harris potentially to buy the Commanders.

Some have wondered whether the new owner of the Washington Commanders will change the team’s name. Again.

The new owner might have no choice. Via trademark attorney Josh Gerben on Twitter, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied the trademark application for the name “Commanders.”

The reason for the denial was: (1) the existence of a trademark for “Commanders’ Classic"; and (2) pending applications filed by a man in the D.C. area.

The Commanders’ Classic is the name of the annual college football game between Army and Air Force. Also, Martin McCaulay filed trademarks for “Washington Space Commanders” and “Washington Wolf Commanders,” at a time when he was trying to squat on the team’s potential new name.

It doesn’t end the issue. As Gerben explains, the team can fight the matter, and it can attempt to work out a deal to use the name. (McCaulay already has said he’ll surrender anything he owns to the team. That’s something he has been saying for several years now.

Gerben believes the team will eventually be able to use the name. The separate question is whether new ownership will want to. The best move could be to make a clean break from All Things Snyder, and a full rebrand could be part of that effort.