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Chicago Cubs get aggressive about trademark logo protection

Cubs win! Cubs win!

Harry Carey, the long-time and venerable Chicago Cubs announcer who passed away some years ago, used to enthusiastically shout those words out at the conclusion of games that his beloved team won.

The problem was that he didn't often have the opportunity to proclaim victory. In fact, the Cubs were known for years as Major League Baseball's "lovable losers."

Well, that appellation is now off the table, given the Cubs' dramatic World Series game 7 victory and championship just last week.

The Cubs obviously fought hard on the field. And, as noted in a recent Forbes article, team principals have been busy sparring just as aggressively off of it recently.

Their foe: the enemies are multiple, actually, and they comprise virtually every business entity on earth that is even thinking about ways to prosper through the alleged unlawful use and exploitation of intellectual property rights held by the Cubs.

The Cubs' time is now, and it is certainly understandable that team officials want to maximally profit off their recent success. Forbes states that the team ownership "is doing everything in its power to completely commercially exploit the opportunity."

Among other things, that means safeguarding merchandising and licensing opportunities through warding off businesses that seek to use trademark icons and images that might reasonably be linked with the Cubs in the minds of consumers.

Sometimes confusion is clear, with a judicial call on the likelihood of confusion and, thus, an offending use, being relatively simple.

Recently, though, the Cubs filed actions with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to enjoin others' use of what many people might think looks like nothing more than an uppercase "C" and "W," respectively.

That can become a bit sticky, obviously, with overly liberalized trademark protections having the effect of potentially shutting down competition to an unhealthy degree and denying other businesses the right to compete in the marketplace.

Team officials contend that, notwithstanding the generic nature of the two letters in some people's minds, they are sufficiently distinct to connote a Cubs connection, and thus qualify for protection.

The parties sought to be enjoined from use have until November to formally respond to the Cubs' petitions.

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