Houston Astros Trademarks

The Houston Astros is a professional American baseball team based in Houston, Texas. Since 2013 they’ve competed in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. 

Often referred to as simply the “Astros”, they originally played as part of the National League (NL) under the name “Houston Colt. 45s”. They joined the NL as an expansion team in 1962 alongside the New York Mets. The franchise played in the NL West division from joining until 1993 before moving to the NL Central division in 1994 until 2012. They were then moved to the AL West as part of an MLB realignment in 2013 where they currently reside. 

The Houston Colt .45s changed their name to the “Houston Astros” in 1965 when they moved to the first ever domed sports stadium, the Astrodome (also called by fans the “Eighth Wonder of the World”). This name is also a nod to the Johnson Space Center, which resides in Houston. 

Though the Astros had their first winning victory in 1972, it wasn’t until the 80s that they saw much success. They made the playoffs in 1980 for the first time and then won three division titles throughout the decade. Thanks to Hall of Fame hitters, “the Killer B’s” (Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell), the Astros had big success in the late 90s/early 2000s with four division titles and two Wild Card appearances. They made their debut World Series appearance in 2005 but lost to the Chicago White Sox. 

The franchise didn’t see too much success following this until the club was bought by business owner Jim Crane in 2011. Using new analytical technologies and sabermetrics, he turned the team into one of MLB’s most successful clubs by the mid-2010s. Since this turnaround, the Astros have appeared in six consecutive American League Championship Series, won over 100 games in four seasons, won four of the last six American League Pennants, and won the 2017 World Series. 

Unfortunately, the Astros were part of an MLB-wide sign-stealing scandal during the 2019-2020 off-season which saw their manager and general manager being fired. Though the team is still recovering its public image after this scandal, they are still recognized as one of the most dominant teams in the American League. The Astro’s all-time record from 1962 to the end of the 2022 season is 4,831 – 4,820 (.501).

Famous Houston Astros Trademarks 

The Houston Astros have been a professional American baseball team since the early 60s and despite having a rollercoaster journey, they are now seen as a very successful baseball franchise. Trademarking their assets and IP with USPTO will save competitors using the same or similar wording or imagery, potentially saving the Astros millions of dollars in legal disputes. The Astros have 59 trademarks registered with USPTO by Houston Astros, LLC. Let’s take a look at some of their most famous trademarks. 

Astros original logo

The first thing the baseball franchise trademarked was its team logo. The Houston Astros logo has changed significantly over time. Since becoming the Astros in 1965, the team has had six different logos, with four of them being very different in design. Their first logo was used from 1965 to 1976 and featured their home stadium – the white Astrodome on a circular orange background. The word “ASTROS” is written in blue with a white outline and curves around the bottom of the Astrodome to match the shape. Surrounding the image is the appearance of atoms moving but the atoms are replaced with baseballs. This logo was registered for a trademark in 1966 and applies to:

  • Entertainment services in the nature of baseball exhibitions, some of which services are rendered through the medium of radio and television broadcasts

Astros

The Houston Astros didn’t trademark their team name until 1988, and even then that was just for the team nickname of “Astros”. The team has also trademarked several illustrative versions of the word “Astros”. The trademark for the wordmark has been updated over the years (as recently as 2019) and applies to:

  • Entertainment services in the nature of baseball exhibitions, some of which services are rendered through the medium of radio and television broadcasts
  • Paper goods and printed matter, namely, bumper stickers, laminated signs, decals, windshield sunscreens, paperweights, pens, pencils, scratch pads, letter openers, paper clips, posters, note paper, baseball cards, programs about baseball, magazines about baseball, books about baseball, calendars, highlighting markers, erasers, pencil sharpeners, drawing rulers, book covers, coloring books, playing cards, booklets, folders, and postcards
  • Clothing, namely, shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts, jogging suits, socks, underwear, jackets, sweaters, vests, pants, ponchos, visors, raincoats, caps, bibs, two-piece diaper sets; baby pants; baby bootees; and short sets, coats, ties, men’s and women’s formalwear, pajamas, sweatshirts, mittens, gloves, knitted headwear, scarves, hosiery, wristbands, headbands, robes, aprons, and shoes
  • Jewelry, namely, bracelets, charms, earrings, rings, necklaces, pendants; watches; costume jewelry; medallions; ornamental pins being jewelry; lapel pins; cuff links; key chains; key rings; decorative key fobs; clocks; trophies of precious metal; and non-monetary coins

Houston Astros’ latest logo

The latest version of the Houston Astros logo has changed notably since the original version. Now much simpler, it features a navy circle with “HOUSTON” written within it in white at the top, and “ASTROS” is at the bottom. A thin orange ring circles both above and below this text. In the center is an orange five-pointed star with a white “H” (for Houston) sitting in front of it. The design is popular with fans as it looks similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame imagery. This logo has been used by the Houston Astros since 2013 and it was registered for a trademark in 2014. It covers:

  • Electrical and scientific apparatus, namely, headphones, pre-recorded cds and dvds relating to baseball, magnetically encoded credit cards, carrying cases for hand-held computers, protective carrying cases for portable music players, namely, mp3 players, telephones, cases specially adapted for personal digital assistants, cell phones, cell phone accessories, namely, cases and face plate covers, photographic cameras, fitted plastic films known as skins for covering and providing a scratch proof barrier or protection for electronic devices, namely, mp3 players, mobile telephones, smart telephones, digital cameras, global positioning systems and personal digital assistants, computers, tablet computers, sunglasses, decorative magnets, video and computer game cartridges, video and computer game discs, video and computer game cassettes, computer accessories, namely, mouse pads, protective sleeves for laptop computers, tablet computers, computer software, namely, graphics for mobile phones, computer browsers, computer game programs and computer application programs downloadable from a global computer network, computer software applications for mobile devices; downloadable multimedia files, video recordings, audio recordings, all in the field of baseball; downloadable computer software for viewing databases of information, statistical information, and multimedia files in the field of baseball; downloadable electronic content, namely, video clips, sound clips, text and multimedia files, visualizations in the nature of graphical representation and analysis of baseball games, competitions and exhibitions; and computer software for the personalization of mobile devices; none of the foregoing relating to a university and/or to collegiate sports
  • Entertainment services, namely, baseball exhibitions, organizing and conducting an array of athletic events rendered live and recorded for distribution through broadcast media; educational services in the nature of baseball camps, seminars and clinics; entertainment in the nature of fantasy sports; entertainment services, namely, conducting contests, sweepstakes and fantasy sports on-line competitions ; production and provision of on-going television, internet and radio programs in the field of sports; providing news, information, podcasts webcasts, online newsletters, and online journals, namely, blogs, all of the foregoing in the field of sports; organizing community sporting and cultural events; entertainment in the nature of live performances by costumed mascots, cheerleaders, and dance groups; fan clubs; festivals featuring a variety of sports and entertainment activities; providing sports facilities; rental of stadium facilities; providing facilities for sports tournaments; entertainment services in the nature of honoring players and fans by means of panels located in a sports and entertainment facility; none of the foregoing relating to a university and/or to collegiate sports
  • Toys and sporting goods, namely, stuffed toys, plush toys, soft sculpture foam toys, foam novelty items, namely, foam fingers, dolls, bobbing head dolls, balloons, parlor games, toy figures, miniature baseball bats, mini batting helmet replicas, baseballs, holders for baseballs, autographed baseballs, golf balls, baseball bats, action figures, balls for games, none of the foregoing relating to a university and/or to collegiate sports
  • Clothing, namely, headwear, shirts, sweaters, bottoms, athletic uniforms, jerseys, sleepwear, robes, jackets, aprons, infant wear, cloth bibs, socks, hosiery, headbands, wristbands, ties, scarves, none of the foregoing relating to a university and/or to collegiate sports
  • Paper goods and printed matter, namely, trading cards, posters, stickers, decals, bumper stickers, scorebooks, scorecards, printed baseball game programs, magazines, and books featuring baseball, brochures, and pamphlets featuring baseball, binders, baseball card albums, calendars, printed bank checkbooks, paper party goods in the nature of paper party decorations, mounted and unmounted photographs, plastic baseball card holders, money clips, pencils, art pictures, and art prints; none of the foregoing relating to a university and/or to collegiate sports

Colts

Despite not being named the Houston Colt .45s since 1964, the franchise decided to trademark some of their old team’s assets, including the name “Colts”, and “.45s”. This was part of a campaign to create “retro” clothing that fans would appreciate. The Astros had the “Colts” logo registered in 2003 (thirteen years after being filed), which features the original colts logo of “Colt” written in a stylized font above a gun. The asterisk for this logo suggests why it may have taken so long to trademark. This trademark applies to:

  • Clothing, namely, shirts * RELATING TO OR PROMOTING A BASEBALL TEAM*

Astros mascot

The Astros have had three mascots in their time. From 1977 – 1990 they had a Texas cavalry soldier on a horse called Chester Charge. At the blast of a bugle, the scoreboard would light up and the audience would yell ‘charge’. 

Their next mascot (and also now their current mascot) is a lime-green space creature who wears an Astros jersey and baseball hat. He has antennae that have baseballs on the end of them. This character’s name is Orbit and was the team mascot from 1990 to 1999. He then returned after a 13-year hiatus in 2013 and is their current mascot to this day. From 2000 – 2012 the team introduced a new mascot, a rabbit named Junction Jack who coincided with the move from the Astrodome to Enron Field. 

The Houston Astros trademarked an illustration of the Orbit mascot in 2014. The description of the mark is “a two-dimensional depiction of a three-dimensional costumed character. The mark consists of a costumed cartoon extraterrestrial character in a baseball uniform with a logo of the letter “H” superimposed on a five point star appearing on the left chest area of the jersey. The character is wearing a baseball cap consisting of a logo of the letter “H” superimposed on a five point star and shoes with baseball with planetary ring designs on them. The character has two antennae on its head with baseballs with planetary rings sitting on the rounded top of the antennae.” This trademark applies to:

  • Toys and sporting goods, namely, stuffed toys, plush toys, soft sculpture foam toys, foam novelty items, namely, foam fingers, toy cars and trucks, toy figures, toy vehicles, dolls and doll accessories, bobbing head dolls, miniature baseball bats, miniature toy baseballs, baseballs, playground balls, baseball bats, Christmas tree ornaments and decorations, action figures, and balls for games
  • Clothing, namely, headwear, shirts, sleepwear, infant wear, socks, and hosiery
  • Entertainment services in the nature of performances and live appearances by a costumed mascot character at baseball games and exhibitions, clinics, promotions, schools, special events, parties, and social, cultural, charitable, and educational events; providing recreational areas in the nature of children’s play areas; fan club services

Houston Astros 45th Anniversary 1965 2010

To celebrate their 45th anniversary, the Astros made sure to celebrate it by running a marketing campaign and releasing merchandise and clothing for fans. They filed for the trademark in 2009, a year before their anniversary in 2010, but didn’t have the phrase officially registered for a trademark until 2011. The Houston Astros created an illustration for their 45th anniversary, featuring a semi-circular badge with “Houston Astros” written in an arch at the top and “anniversary” in a straight banner across the bottom. In the center of the badge is a silhouette of Texas state with “45th” written over it. “1965” sits in a rectangle on the left-hand side and “2010” sits on the right. This trademark covers:

  • Caps, T-shirts, polo-style shirts, collared shirts, and jerseys
  • Ornamental cloth and nylon patches for clothing
  • Entertainment services in the nature of baseball exhibitions, some of which are rendered through the medium of radio and television broadcasts

Play Green

In 2010, the Astros looked to raise awareness of environmental initiatives by running a “Play Green” campaign surrounding Earth Day. They looked to draw attention to the earth-friendly efforts of their Houston hometown. The MLB also frequently run “green” initiatives, taking pride in their teams “demonstrating a wide-ranging commitment to sustainable practices”, said Commissioner Bud Selig. 

The Houston Astros trademarked a “Play Green” illustration in 2009 that features the words “PLAY GREEN” with a five-point star and microphone to the left and a leaf coming out of the “N” in the word “green”. This trademark applies to:

  • Promoting public awareness of environmental issues and initiatives
  • Entertainment services in the nature of baseball exhibitions, some of which are rendered through the medium of radio and television broadcasts

Wrapping up

The Houston Astros are a professional baseball team that had a little bit of a turbulent history until the mid-2010s when they started to see great success. They appear to not only be successful on the pitch but also at registering their assets for trademark. The franchise has registered 59 trademarks with USPTO in total. 

The team has trademarked its team name, nickname, logos, slogans, campaigns, mascot, emblems, and more. They appear to have covered all basis, making it much easier to run marketing campaigns and create merchandise without running into any legal disputes. As a team that’s worth $1.98 billion, it will save them money, time, and future headaches!

Check out other famous trademarks here

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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