Houston Rockets Trademarks

The Rockets are a US-based basketball team hailing from Houston. The Rockets play in the Western Conference of the NBA. They play their home games at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston.

During its history, Houston won two NBA championships and four Western Conference titles.

They began as the San Diego Rockets as a San Diego expansion team, but in 1971, they relocated to Houston, taking on the name Houston Rockets.

The Rockets won 15 games in their first season as a franchise in 1967; in the NBA draft in 1968, they were awarded top pick and selected Elvin Hayes, who’d lead the team to a playoff in his rookie season. The Rockets didn’t make any major progress for nearly ten years until the 76-77 season when they acquired all-star Moses Malone. Malone became the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice while playing for the Rockets. In his first year, he led them to the Eastern Conference championship.

In the 1980-81 season, the Rockets closed the season with 40-42 records and made the playoffs. They became the second team in the NBA to compete with a losing record. While they reached the NBA finals for the second time, they lost again to the Boston Celtics led by Larry Bird. In the 1984 draft, they acquired Hakeem Olajuwon, who became one of the reasons for the most successful period ever.

The Rockets acquired power forward Charles Barkley, but even three of the greatest NBA players (Olajuwon, Drexler, Barkley) weren’t enough to help, and by 2001 each trio had left or retired. The Rockets faced a period of strife and deconstruction, but in 2012 acquired franchise player James Harden. Harden broke various NBA and franchise records, including winning three scoring titles in two years and leading the team to the Western Conference Finals twice.

The Rockets were renowned for using analytics in player acquisitions and play style. Hakeem Olajuwon, James Harden, and Moses Malone have been named the NBA’s MVP while playing for the Rockets for four awards. Recent significant matches include beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, though the Rockets also lost to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA Houston Rockets most recently faced off against the Atlanta Hawks, losing 20-62.

Famous Houston Rockets trademarks

The Houston Rockets have decades of history, with some of the best NBA players coming through its doors. Through its 50+ years in the NBA, the Houston Rockets have forged a unique brand along with its fanbase; the Rockets protect this brand with registered trademarks. Let’s take a look at the Houston Rockets trademarks registered by Rocket Ball LTD.

Houston Rockets

Following the team’s name change in 1971, Rocket Ball registered the team name ‘Houston Rockets’ in 1972. The name is registered for use in:

  • Entertainment services, specifically related to professional basketball games
  • Footwear, basketball shoes, T-shirts, coats, baby clothes, cheerleading uniforms, board shorts, swim trunks, bathing suits, and other clothing
  • Earrings, pendants, and other jewelry and accessories
  • Decals, ballpoint pens, and calendars
  • Duffel bags, backpacks, and other bags
  • Novelty homewares including pillows, signboards, etc.
  • Mugs and glassware
  • Cloth banners, wall hangings, towels, throw blankets, and pillowcases
  • Computerized and online ordering services

Houston Rockets logo (1973)

The basic Rockets logo was first used in 1973 and consisted of the words ‘Houston Rockets’ over a basketball design. This simple logo became the base for future logo designs and was registered for use in:

  • Basketball games and other professional basketball services
  • Basketball accessories such as wristbands
  • Pennants
  • Clothing, T-shirts

Rockets Power Dancers

The Houston Rockets dance squad members are known as ‘Power Dancers’. The Rockets Power Dancers have been a fan favorite for many years, with the first use of the name in 1994. The name was officially registered in 1997 for use in:

  • Dance performances related to professional basketball

Rocket Shop

‘Rocket Shop’ is the name of the Houston Rockets’ official merchandise store – the Rocket Shop offers an array of products for Rockets fans. Following its first use in 1995, the name was registered in 1997 for use in:

  • Retail stores featuring basketball team clothing, gifts, souvenirs, and other sports-related merchandise

Clutch City

Though it’s not the official team name, the Rockets are often associated with the name ‘Clutch City’ after advancing to the finals in the 1993-4 season. Following its first use in 1995, the trademark registration was completed in 2007 in the following categories:

  • Basketball trading cards, stickers, memo pads, note pads, ring binders, activity books, and other printed matter related to the field of basketball
  • Beach hats, nightshirts, T-shirts, weather-resistant jackets, novelty headwear, bathing suits, and other clothing
  • Television broadcasting of basketball exhibitions
  • Audio broadcasting services in the field of basketball
  • Online services, including news publications related to basketball
  • Video games related to basketball
  • Statistical and analytical information related to basketball

Clutch Gaming

Clutch Gaming is a joint venture owned by the Houston Rockets and Dignitas, specializing in e-sports. The Clutch Gaming trademark was registered in 2018 for use in:

  • T-shirts, basketball shoes, and other clothing
  • Arranging and conducting electronic gaming competitions
  • Entertainment tours related to gaming
  • Electronic sports athletes and virtual renditions of sports athletes
  • Webcasts and podcasts
  • Social media-based programs and internet shows related to electronic gaming contests
  • Publication of magazines, guides, newsletters, and others printed and online

Light The Fuse

The most recent trademark application submitted by the Rockets is for the slogan ‘Light the Fuse’. The application was submitted in 2021 and, if approved, will apply to:

  • Entertainment and educational services related to radio and television programs
  • Basketball entertainment services including basketball clinics, dance team camps, and games
  • Appearances by a costumed mascot or dance team
  • Fan club services
  • Analytical, statistical information to predict the outcome of basketball matches
  • Hosiery, footwear, basketball shirts, polo shirts, cheerleading uniforms, dresses, and other clothing

Related: Trademarking a phrase

R logo design

The ‘R’ logo consists of a stylized ‘R’ surrounded by a ring. It was registered in 2019 for use in:

  • Tote bags, athletic bags, overnight bags, and other bags
  • Mousepads and other computer accessories
  • Jewelry and other accessories
  • Decals and temporary tattoo transfers
  • Pet clothing and collars
  • Online retail store services
  • Umbrellas and suitcases for traveling
  • Publications for printed matter, including magazines and newsletters
  • Toys, games, and sporting goods
  • Basketball shoes, jerseys, T-shirts, cheerleading uniforms, hats, beach caps, swimwear, and other clothing
  • Cloth banners, wall hangings, and other home accessories
  • Beverage glassware, drinking glasses, shot glasses, mugs, and cups made of ceramic, beer mugs, tumblers for use as drinking glasses; stainless steel water bottles sold empty, bottle openers, drinking flasks, insulating sleeve holders for bottles, insulating sleeve holders for beverage cans, piggy banks
  • Performances by a cheerleading squad or costumed mascot
  • Pillows and seat cushions; portable and folding stadium seats and cushions; wall plaques made of wood, wooden signboards; steel furniture; chairs, portable and folding sports seats; furniture; juvenile furniture; beds for household pets

Wrapping up

If you spend time building a brand, you’ll naturally amass intellectual property. Federal trademark registration with the USPTO allows you to protect your brand. The Houston Rockets have collected various trademarks, with more than 50 registrations (including a few pending filings).

The Rockets enjoy a net worth of almost 3 billion dollars, so they have a vested interest in protecting their branding and have done so by registering their cheerleading squad, fan clubs, merchandise stores, team name, and logos.

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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