Who Owns The Rights To The USFL Name?

FOX Sports is rebooting the USFL starting in April.

On April Fool’s Day 1987, the Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said that the most important item that a team or a league has is its logo. You have to protect the logo as it is the business’s selling point. There is a lawsuit that has been filed by a group called The USFL LLC that wants to block 21st Century FOX and FOX Sports, Inc. from using the name United States Football League along with its logo and the brand names and logos used by teams in that league between 1983 and 1985. The USFL went out of business after a jury awarded the group one dollar in damages after the league proved the National Football League did harm its business after the league filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

The Real USFL LLC was a company formed to protect the trademarks of the old league, and the business is seeking an injunction to stop FOX, which owns the fledgling spring football league, from using the name USFL and any of the league’s team names or logos. The Real USFL LLC is not trying to stop FOX Sports from placing a product on the field. The Real USFL LLC lawyers contend that FOX Sports “has traded on the false narrative that FOX’s League and USFL teams are the offspring of the original. They are not.” Rupert Murdoch’s FOX Sports business counters that the USFL was defunct for more than 30 years and had abandoned its trademarks. The question of why FOX Sports would want to revive a brand that failed has not really been answered. The Real USFL LLC is suing FOX Sports for trademark infringement, false advertising, and false association. FOX Sports lawyers using the usual lawyer defense talk, said the lawsuit is completely without merit. The league has an April 16th kickoff date.

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Tampa Bay Bandits left guard Chuck Pitcock, right, lands a right hook to the mask of Oakland Invaders? defensive end Dave Browning, whose head goes reeling back during the first half of their USFL game, June 30, 1985 in Oakland. The skirmish took place after a Tampa Bay fumble and the Invaders? Browning was given a unnecessary roughness penalty on the play in their first round playoff game. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)