The L.A. Chargers are off to a bit of a tough start, with backlash from fans since the announcement of the move from San Diego, followed by ridicule of their new logo, and now a challenge to their trademark application from the L.A. Gear company.
If you don’t remember L.A. Gear, they’re the sneaker company that scored big endorsements in the early 90s from NBA starts like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and non-athletes like Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul. But, by 1994, they were already fading in popularity. By 1998, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Despite the decline, they’re still an active company, and still looking to protect their trademark.
L.A. Gear has filed a notice of opposition with the USPTO, arguing that the L.A. Chargers mark would cause confusion with consumers. As noted by Will Brinson.
Now, no one with a brain is going to confuse L.A. Gear with the L.A. Chargers. The Chargers are a football team that wastes the career of Philip Rivers and gags away late leads. L.A. Gear is a brand of footwear that lights up in the back. (Although maybe there’s a correlation here …)
However, in the interest of selling athletic apparel, a.k.a., gear, it would be understandable that L.A. Gear wouldn’t be thrilled about its already waning sales potentially taking a hit because of the Chargers similar logo.
So they filed an opposition to the Chargers patent, noting that the Chargers’ “applied-for mark is confusingly similar to the marks of Opposer identified hereinabove.”
Additionally because the two will be offered to the “same class of consumers” L.A. Gear is claiming that the Chargers marks are “likely to cause confusion, or cause to mistake, or to deceive as to the source of the goods.”
It will be interesting to watch how the USPTO responds, and what the Chargers organization chooses to do in the event that the challenge is upheld. Striking a deal with L.A. Gear seems like the most likely outcome in that scenario.