Competing in the AFC East Division, The Buffalo Bills are a football team that competes in the National Football League. They are headquartered in upstate New York. The Bills are the only team that chooses to play in New York for their home games, even though there are two other New York-based NFL teams (The Jets and the Giants). The Bills joined the NFL during the American Football Leagues’ merger in the 1970 season. (Check out more on NFL trademarks.)
To begin with, the Bills team colors were based on the Detroit Lions, following the same blue, white, and silver color palette. By 1962 the team had changed their logo to a red bison, and the color palette followed, becoming red, white, and blue.
Buffalo occasionally wore white at home during the 1980s, including eight home games in 1984, though they stopped doing so beginning in 1987. In November of 2011, against the New York Jets, the Bills wore white at home for the first time since 1986. Since 2011, the Bills have worn white for a home game with their primary uniform or a throwback set.
In 2005, the Bills revived the standing bison helmet and uniform of the mid-1960s as a throwback uniform.
In 2012, Nike partnered with the Buffalo Bills to create a Bills uniform. In November of 2015, the Bills and the New York Jets became the first teams to participate in the NFL’s Color Rush uniform initiative, with Buffalo wearing an all-red combination for the first time in team history.
In 2017, Pennsylvania Native Sean McDermott would become head coach of the Bills, former coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. That same year, the Bills posted a 9–7 record and ended a record nobody wanted to take credit for, an 18-year postseason drought, but the team lost its opening playoff game.
Famous Buffalo Bills trademarks
With an impressive sporting history, including being the only team to make it to four super bowls in a row, it’s no surprise that the Buffalo Bills have amassed a collection of intellectual property along with their scores of devout fans. Let’s look at some of the most famous Buffalo Bills trademarks.
The first trademark application that the Bills submitted was for their name. The trademark registration was approved in 1973, with the first use dating back to 1959. The wordmark was registered in the following categories:
- Entertainment services, specifically football exhibitions recorded live in the stadium and broadcast via radio and television
- Goods and services, clothing for men, women, and children, including footwear and sports clothing
- Jewelry, watches, clocks, ornamental pins, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, key chains, and other accessories
- Sporting goods and toys
- Cellphone covers and accessories
- Video games
- Computer software
Buffalo Bills helmet logo
Like many other NFL teams, the Buffalo Bills have a logo that features a helmet, but theirs is unique with a bison half-jumping half-charging on the side of the helmet. The logo was registered with the trademark office in 1976 in the following categories:
- Entertainment services featuring the broadcast and exhibition of professional football games
- Trading cards
- Printed matter such as books, magazines, and newsletters
- Clothing for men, women, and children
Read more on trademarking a logo
In addition to Buffalo Bills, the word mark ‘Bills’ was also trademarked. The recorded first use occurred in 1959, and the trademark was officially registered in 1977 in the following categories:
- Educational and entertainment services featuring the exhibition and broadcast of professional football games
- Jewelry and other accessories
- Toys and sporting goods
The Buffalo Jills were the Bills’ dedicated cheer squad. Though the cheer squad was officially dissolved in 2014, trademark rights still belong to the buffalo bills. The trademark was first registered in 1982 in just one category:
- Services rendered by a dancing and cheerleading group
The bison logo is one of the most distinctive features of the Buffalo Bills brand. The bison is often seen by itself and as part of other logos, such as the helmet logo. The logo was officially registered in 2002 but first used in 1974. It is registered in the following categories:
- Men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, including sports clothes and footwear
- Toys and sporting goods
- Education and entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions
- Bags, including sports bags, athletic bags, and golf bags
- Television and radio productions
- Fan club services
- Posters and calendars
- Physical education programs
- Football helmets
- Cellphone covers
Bills Mafia began as a social media hashtag and movement of loyal Bills fans who enjoy breaking tables. The fanbase continues to grow. The trademark Bills Mafia is currently in the process of being registered in the following categories:
- Clothing for men, women, and children, including t-shirts, protective clothing, and aprons
- Face coverings and masks for medical/health purposes
Buffalo Bills jersey
The Buffalo Bills jersey is, surprisingly, subject to a trademark. The composite mark specifically consists of the design incorporating elements of red, black, blue, and white on a professional football jersey. The body and sleeves are blue, with stripes on each sleeve. The stripes form two bands and wrap around each sleeve of the jersey. The mark also includes a white neckline with a thin red lined border along the top seam with an additional black outline bordering the neckline. The trademark was officially registered in 2017 in the following categories:
- Men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, including jerseys
- Education and entertainment services like professional football games and exhibitions; providing sports and entertainment information via a global computer network or a commercial online service
The Billievers is an online members-only fan club “for serious Buffalo Bills fans to discuss football.” The wordmark was officially registered in 2017 for use in:
- Entertainment services, namely, live performances by a musical band
Buffalo Bills registered this wordmark in 2019 in the following category:
- Entertainment services like arranging and conducting parties such as tailgating events featuring interactive games, exhibitions, arts and crafts, beer, food, beverages, dance performances, and lotteries
Buffalo Bills have their own Stampede drumline that is played before their games. The same name is also shared by fansite “Beware the Stampede,” where you can get up-to-date buffalo news. The trademark was registered in 2021 in just one category:
- Entertainment services including performances by a musical group performed at professional football games
Buffalo Bills have submitted a trademark application for a logo that features a ‘B’ with a shaded seven incorporated into the design, thought to be intended for use with the Bills Mafia brand. If approved, the trademark will apply in the following categories:
- Cloth face coverings designed to be used for health reasons, namely, sanitary masks for medical wellness purposes
- Clothing for men, women, and children, including footwear, sportswear, and other clothing types
- Weatherproof clothing such as coats, parkas, and jackets
The Buffalo Bills are a popular NFL team with an interesting history, with many unique twists and turns, including four consecutive super bowl playoffs, but the dubious honor of losing all four. While they’re one of the smaller NFL teams, they have an active fanbase and are worth an estimated $2.27 billion. Part of protecting this immense wealth comes down to relying on trademark protections, and The Bills have more than 20 trademarks registered with the USPTO.