Chicago Blackhawks Trademarks

The Chicago Blackhawks are an American professional ice hockey team that competes in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference. Often known as the “Blackhawks” or just the “Hawks”, the team is based in Chicago and shares its home arena – the United Center with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. 

Founded in 1926, the Chicago Blackhawks were previously known as “Black Hawks” until 1986. The franchise is one of the “Original Six” NHL teams. 

The team has had several owners over its time, with the Wirtz family being credited as a turning point for the franchise. After losing fan interest and competitiveness in the early 2000s, Rocky Wirtz helped bring the franchise back. He made partnerships to air their games on television, brought in the former president of the MLB’s Chicago Cubs, John McDonough who was instrumental in their marketing success, and brought back former Blackhawks greats as “hockey ambassadors”. Under his ownership, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times (2010, 2013, and 2015). The team has now won six Stanley Cups in total, with the most recent being in 2015.  

Famous Chicago Blackhawks Trademarks

Despite winning the Stanley Cup six times, the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t been the most successful team, especially in recent years, with them being labeled as “one of the worst teams in the NHL” over the course of the 2022 season – winning just one game in their last ten.

The franchise has also not been very successful in registering trademarks with USPTO with the team having just 21 trademarks to its name. Protecting your assets and IP by trademarking them can save huge amounts of time, money, and headaches in future legal battles. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous Chicago Blackhawks trademarks, registered by Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team, Inc. 


It was only in 1969, the same year that the Wirtz family took over ownership of the Chicago Blackhawks that they started to trademark any of their assets, despite being a team for over forty years prior to this. The first thing the franchise trademarked was their team name, which is interestingly trademarked as one word ‘Blackhawks”, despite them publically spelling it “Black Hawks” until 1986. The trademark was registered in 1970 and then updated in 1992 to cover using the wordmark on apparel. It applies to:

  • Entertainment services in the nature of professional ice hockey exhibitions
  • Clothing; namely, shirts, jerseys, sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, sweatpants, warm-up suits, wristbands, headbands, shorts, caps, hats, socks, nightshirts, mittens, and cloth bibs

Blackhawks logo

The Blackhawks logo has largely remained the same since its creation in 1926. The original logo was designed by Irene Castle, the wife of the team’s founder. It has always featured the side profile of a Native American man smiling with four feathers in his hair. Earlier depictions of this were of the Native American with a black circle around him that read “Black Hawks” at the top, and “Chicago” around the bottom. The latest version just features the Native American man, not the circle. It’s been used since 1964 and hasn’t been changed since. 

The Chicago Blackhawks have (like many other teams) come under scrutiny for their team name which is said to have racist connotations. However, the team has stated that they have no plans to change their name. It was chosen by the original owner, Frederic McLaughlin, who commanded the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion in World War One of the U.S. Army’s 86th Infantry Division which was nicknamed “The Blackhawk Division” – after Sauk war leader Black Hawk. McLaughlin wanted to tie the team name to his service in the military and the logo was allegedly inspired by one used by a club in Lake Forest where McLaughlin played polo. The Blackhawks believe that the team name honors an actual Native American – Black Hawk of Illinois’s Sac & Fox Nation. Despite their defense, the American Indian Center split from the team in 2019 and no longer supports any use of “Indian Mascots”. The logo was registered for a trademark in 1970 and applies to:

  • Entertainment services in the nature of professional ice hockey exhibitions
  • Clothing; namely, shirts, jerseys, sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, sweatpants, warm-up suits, wristbands, headbands, shorts, caps, hats, socks, nightshirts, mittens, and cloth bibs

Related: Getting a trademark for your logo

Four Feathers

Four Feathers is a charitable foundation run by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. They have annual fundraisers which include charity golf games, a silent auction, a live auction, and involvement of current and former Blackhawks players, as well as corporate sponsors. The money raised goes towards several Blackhawks charities and the community. The illustration features the four feathers worn in the hair of the Native American featured in the team’s logo. The feathers dangle from the “o” in “Four”. It was registered in 2001 and applies to:

  • Providing and promoting charitable fundraising services

Cold Steel on Ice

“Cold Steel on Ice” is a phrase used to describe the Chicago Blackhawks as part of a marketing campaign back in the 1980s. It’s said that the phrase originated from the Chicago radio presenter and voicework artist, Ken Nordine who was a huge fan of the team. The phrase has recently made a comeback with sites selling retro 80s merchandise with the slogan on. “Cold Steel on Ice” was registered as a trademark in 2017 and applies to:

  • Clothing, namely, hats, shirts, and jackets
  • Entertainment services in the nature of sporting events, namely, hockey games

Home Away From Home Series

In August 2022, the Chicago Blackhawks announced a “Home Away From Home” game against the Minnesota Wild on October 2nd in Milwaukee as part of the “Home Away From Home” 2022 series presented by BMO. The idea for the game was the result of recognizing the many Blackhawks fans in Milwaukee, and many Chicago fans looking for a quick weekend getaway, making it a great location. Tickets for the game sold out within minutes. The Chicago Blackhawks registered for the trademark in August 2022 and it’s still pending, but if granted will apply to:

  • Clothing, namely, hats, shirts, and jackets
  • Entertainment services, namely, professional hockey exhibitions

Four feathers logo

Though not an official team logo, the Chicago Blackhawks have registered a trademark for the illustration of just the four feathers used on both the team logo and on their charitable services imagery. The four feathers sit by themselves and point downwards from a circular point at the top. The feathers are colored red, orange, green, and yellow. The image was trademarked in 2015 and applies to:

  • Clothing, namely, bandannas, beach cover-ups, belts, body suits, boxer shorts, caps, cloth bibs, coats, dresses, footwear, ear muffs, gloves, hats, headbands, hosiery, housecoats, jackets, jerseys, leggings, leotards, mittens, nightshirts, pajamas, pants, raincoats, rainwear, robes, scarves, shirts, shorts, skirts, socks, suits, sun visors, suspenders, sweaters, sweatpants, sweatshirts, swimsuits, swim trunks, T-shirts, ties, toques, underwear, vests, warm-up suits, and wristbands
  • Entertainment services, namely, professional hockey exhibitions

Wrapping up

The Chicago Blackhawks are a team with a great history – being one of the “Original Six” NHL teams. However, they haven’t been the most successful ice hockey team. They are joint second last with the Boston Bruins (of the Original Six teams) for the number of Stanley Cups – holding six to their name. They also have the least amount of players in the Hall of Fame out of the Original Six and haven’t had much success in recent years. 

The franchise also hasn’t been too successful with trademarking its assets either. The team only has 21 trademarks registered with USPTO. They’ve registered key IP, such as logos, imagery, fan slogans, and charitable avenues, which are all great achievements. Though these trademarks don’t cover much aside from the basics, which limits marketing avenues.

However, the Blackhawks haven’t trademarked many of their other assets – they actually haven’t trademarked the wordmark of their full team name, only the team nickname of “Blackhawks”. This could become problematic for them. They also haven’t trademarked their Hall of Famer mascot, Tommy Hawk, or their “Here Come the Hawks!” official fight song. As a franchise worth an estimated $1.5 billion, it may be worth their spending time registering their assets with USPTO to save future legal battles. 

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded this trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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