For $225 and five minutes of your time, you can become the owner of a trademark for a potential team name of a sports franchise. That is, if you get there first.
Martin McCaulay, a realtor from Alexandria, VA has consistently beat others to the punch on certain trademarks, especially for potential name changes for the Washington football franchise. As of July 13, he owns the rights to several names including:
Washington Red Wolves
Washington War Hogs
Washington Freedom Fighters
Some may view McCaulay as a villain in Washington's name change saga, slowing down the process by demanding payment for his trademarks. This is not the case, however, as he explained to The Sports Junkies on Monday.
"I sent the [NFL's] trademark attorneys an email on July 4," McCaulay said. "I told them, 'Here's a list of all my trademarks, if this will help you get the name changed you can use these for free.' They did not answer.
"I never expected to make any money, I'm not an idiot," he said. "I get roasted a lot, 'Look at this idiot, he never got a trademark attorney, he doesn't know what he's doing.' Every time reporters asked me, I say, 'No I'm not interested in making any money, I think this is funny.'"
McCaulay has wanted Washington to change its name for a long time and knows how difficult the trademark game works. So he'd rather act as a facilitator, which could help the team get everything changed before the 2020 season begins.
"I'm just trying to get them to change the name," he said. "I think I'm kind of in a position to make that happen because if they're trying to make the change in two months, they don't have a lot of choices. If there's a name where I've got a trademark for both athletic equipment and football games then they're set, they're good to go.
"So why would they not pick one of mine and they're good to go in two months?" he said. "If they pick one that somebody's already got, somebody besides me, they're going to get into negotiations that are going to take months and I don't think they can do it in time."
Washington would not be required to contact McCaulay until three months after they decide which name to use, granted it would have to be one of his names. Once they did, he'd simply give it to them.
Based on his knowledge of the trademark landscape surrounding potential names for Washington, McCauley believes Red Wolves is the likely choice. He holds the "Washington Red Wolves" trademark, but Arkansas State University holds the rights to "Red Wolves." If the one thing holding up Dan Snyder from renaming his team is a trademark dispute, Red Wolves is McCaulay's guess.
"If they want Red Wolves, then somebody's going to have to contact the board of trustees at Arkansas State," he said. "[It could take months] and I don't know how they're going to keep that private either."
Think of Snyder and his fellow advisors as someone choosing a movie to go see. They want to pick the right movie, make sure they can make it on time and ensure everyone going with them is all in. McCaulay is the guy saving them a seat at almost every theater, willing to get up at any moment so Washington doesn't have to wait for a later showing.
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