When we first looked at the Buffalo Bills LLC’s (“Bills”) applications to register the trademark “BILLS MAFIA” (SN 90248260 and 90248264) at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”), we found a significant hurdle in the way. That hurdle was a prior, pending application at the USPTO by Karina Lopez to register the mark “BILLSMAFIA” for her “online community of registered users to talk about Buffalo New York sports.” (the “Lopez Application”) (SN 90051257).
Well, the Lopez application has since been reviewed by an attorney examiner at the USPTO and has been refused registration, as we anticipated, on the grounds of likelihood of confusion with the Bills’ registered marks for “educational and entertainment services in the form of professional football games and exhibitions” (RN 953359) and “Buffalo Bills” for “entertainment services, namely football exhibitions rendered live in stadia and through the media of radio and television broadcast” (RN 1079082).
This was not a surprise by any means. Ms. Lopez has another four months or so to respond to the examiner’s refusal to register her “BILLSMAFIA” mark. In the meantime, the Lopez
Application remains pending. As a consequence, during this response period, the Lopez Application, unless expressly abandoned, could continue to block the Bills’ applications to register their “BILLS MAFIA” mark and put the Bills’ applications in a state of suspension.
It is still a little early for the Bills’ applications, filed in mid-October, 2020, to be reviewed by a USPTO examiner.
We will continue to keep an eye on them and report on the progress of the Bills’ applications (or the lack of progress) as the case may be.
Les Greenbaum is an experienced attorney who focuses his practice in the areas of trademark, copyright, entertainment, art and sports law, unfair competition and related litigation. He can be reached at Gross Shuman P.C. by calling 716-854-4300 ext. 230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.