A federal trademark panel recently ruled in favor of the Chicago Cubs and against an Iowa man planning to go into business selling shirts with the word, ‘Cubsnoxious’ on it. That’s the best he could do?
Ronald Mark Huber thought he had a novel idea. In 2016, the Iowa man filed to copyright or patent the made-up word, “Cubsnoxious.” According to Reuters, Huber was trying to say that Chicago Cubs fans are crazy and obnoxious and took his new word to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Sadly, this is where Huber’s tale ends as the Chicago Cubs brought out a ‘Cubsbundance’ of evidence as reported by Reuters.
"Cubs offered “convincing” evidence its marks were strong, going back to the early 1900s, when Hall of Fame infielders Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance wore Cubs jerseys. It also said “Cubnoxious” was already associated with some Cubs fans, citing media reports, Twitter posts and even a Yelp user who complained about having to avoid “Cubnoxious Drunkards” in a Chicago park."
When all was said and done, the judge said that the combination of a negative word with a common brand such as the Cubs would be confusing to consumers. Even the fact of selling a shirt to the same fans would cause consumers to wonder if it was an authentic brand item or who exactly was representing the product.
Therefore, the victory went to the Cubs owners who got to save a little bit of their brand name, which was bought and paid for legally folks. I’m all for creativity and being an entrepreneur. But maybe Huber should have worked a little harder with the Chicago Cubs folks; I don’t know.
What I do know Mr. Huber, is how these things tend to happen. Basically, they happen just like this: