SBD/October 25, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLB Cardinals Seek To Settle Rally Squirrel Trademark Dispute With Local Businessman

The Cardinals' Rally Squirrel became a hit during the '11 postseason
The MLB Cardinals and a local businessman are "trying to negotiate a settlement" of a dispute over his October '11 federal trademark application "on the Rally Squirrel for shirts and related memorabilia," according to Kavita Kumar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Missouri-based sports memorabilia dealer Phil Rideout in '11 said that he "thinks he was the first one to make a Rally Squirrel T-Shirt that year." Rideout said then that he "applied to register the trademark because he wanted to build a whole sports brand around the Rally Squirrel outside of just baseball and wanted to make sure he was in the clear legally before launching it." The Cardinals in '12 "filed an opposition" with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The team in the filing noted that it "quickly began marketing Rally Squirrel merchandise, including rally towels that were handed out to 40,000 fans" at an NLCS game. It also "sold T-shirts in its team store with the slogan 'Got Squirrel.'" Rideout's attorney David Howard "would not discuss the details of this case." But Howard speaking generally about trademark law noted that a federal trademark "would not necessarily trump 'common law' trademarks for people who actively use the mark in a certain geographic region" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/25).
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