PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Back in August 2019, the Oak View Group (owner of both the incoming NHL Seattle team and AHL Palm Springs franchise) filed for team name trademarks concerning Palm Springs club. Some possible names trademarked included the Eagles, Hawks, Sun, Dragons, Falcons, and the front-runner, Firebirds.
But, in November, the US Patent Office declined the latter submission based on the fact that it was too similar to the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds, thus shifting the focus onto the previously mentioned options.
However, on May 11, 2020, Palm Springs filed a response to the rejection of the Firebirds trademark, one day before the six-month limit for such an appeal came into effect. Included in their response was granted permission from the Flint Firebirds to for possible use of their moniker for AHL Palm Springs.
Rolf Nilson, President of IMS Hockey Corporation that owns he OHL’s Flint Firebirds, released a statement regarding the matter. Part of his release included reasoning for both teams to coexist with the Firebirds nickname.
“IMS hereby consents to the use and registration of the trademark PALM SPRINGS FIREBIRDS by Oak View Group, LLC … IMS does not believe there is any likelihood of confusion between its mark, FLINT FIREBIRDS, and Oak View’s PALM SPRINGS FIREBIRDS mark as it is sufficiently different and distinguishable … The parties have entered into an agreement to take certain steps to avoid any future likelihood of confusion”
Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net also added that the agreement “included Palm Springs’ promise to not use anything close to Flint’s color scheme of navy blue, orange, silver, and white nor would they ‘choose a logo that is confusingly similar’ to Flint’s.”
With both Seattle and Palm Springs yet to announce nicknames for their clubs, there is now a building anticipation for brand reveals from the Oak View Group. With an official appeal submitted for the Firebirds trademark, one would think that the Palm Springs organization could very well going all-in on that team identity.
Both Seattle and Palm Springs will begin NHL and AHL play, respectively, in 2021-22.