(Reuters) - The Chicago Cubs baseball team has blocked an Iowa man from trademarking the term “Cubnoxious.”
A federal panel that reviews trademark applications recently ruled against Ronald Mark Huber, after the Cubs said his plan to sell “Cubnoxious” shirts might confuse people into thinking the name was the team’s idea and that Cubs fans were “obnoxious.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the 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.
Huber’s “Cubnoxious” mark “likely would be perceived as a combination of the term CUB and the word ‘obnoxious,’ which typically is not a flattering term,” Judge Cynthia Lynch wrote for the panel in its May 3 decision.
“Given the similarity of [the Cubs’] strong marks to applicant’s mark, and the overlap of their goods that move in some of the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers, we conclude that confusion is likely,” she added.
Huber had sought to register “Cubnoxious” in 2016.
A lawyer for Huber did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment. The Cubs and Major League Baseball did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Bill Berkrot