Does the new USFL have the legal right to call itself the USFL?
As former USFL head coach Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” (Personally, I prefer his other catch phrase.)
The USFL is back. But it may not be really back.
Via Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Inquirer, a question has emerged as to whether the reincarnated USFL has the legal right to the USFL name.
“I was surprised when I heard about it this morning,” Steve Ehrhart, former USFL executive director, told Domowitch. “I want to dig into it and see who they’re claiming they acquired these rights [to the name] from. Because it didn’t come from any legitimate source.
“My guess is there’s some knucklehead out there who claimed he had registered the name and had the rights to it. We’re not being antagonistic. But if they want to do this, they should do it the right way and talk to the actual people, not some guy who sent in an Internet registration or something like that.”
Erhart contends that the USFL still exists, and that league officials still get monthly royalty checks. Brian Woods has resurrected the USFL, with FOX as the broadcaster and equity partner.
“We were only around three seasons, but the USFL was a classy, well-respected name,” Erhart said. “We always said that we didn’t want to just jump in there and sell it to somebody who was going to be underfunded and blow up and give a halfway kind of effort. So we never did give or sell or authorize the rights to anybody.”
It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. And it could end up in the same place where the old USFL won an antitrust case against the NFL. This time around, however, the verdict could be significantly more than one dollar.