"Squatters" May Be Looking to Get in on the Next Name of Cleveland's Major League Baseball Team
About a dozen people from around the country think they have an idea of what Cleveland’s baseball team will call itself in the future. And they’re filing to establish ownership of the new name before the team does. The Cleveland Slam, Natives, and Squires are among the names which were applied for last summer.
Akron trademark attorney Suzanne Ketler – who is not involved with the name change -- says that “squatters” hoping to make a quick buck might be disappointed since trademarks must be fully owned before they can be sold under such "Intent to Use" filings. And that can take a long time.
“I think people are often surprised that it can take a year or two years to get a trademark registration," Ketler said. "You know, people think it's going to be something that comes out in a couple of weeks and, frankly, there's usually a lot of back and forth with the Trademark Office. A trademark registration that comes out in less than a year is always a wonderful surprise.”
Most of the applications were made over two days in July. The Cleveland Spiders and Guardians are among the most well-known, but there were also filings for the Foresters and Crowhoppers.
According to Ketler, "somebody can't just come along and say, 'hey, I think this mark or name is going to be of great importance and of high value to somebody with deep pockets in the future. So, I'm going to go ahead and file a bunch of applications and then they're going to have to buy those from me, and then I'll transfer them for a high price.' You can't do that until you show 'use in commerce.'"
Three other potential names mentioned on social media – the Naps, Blues, and Bronchos – have actually been owned by the Indians for over a decade. And Ketler says at least one other name – the Buckeyes -- has already run into objections from Ohio State University. Other filings include the Tribe and Warriors. And the mark for the Rockers was abandoned by the WNBA.
The Indians say they have no comment on the names or filings.