It’s time to hit the start button on a good old fashioned trademark fight. 20th Century Fox has requested an extension of time to oppose Echo Fox’s attempt to register a trademark for the organization’s name.
Echo Fox is the esports organization founded and owned by former NBA player Rick Fox. Established in December 2015, after Fox purchased and re-branded the League of Legends team Gravity Gaming for $1 million. The org currently has teams competing in League of Legends, *Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, **CS: GO *and other games. Since it was just founded in 2015, there is another Fox that has been around a lot longer.
20th Century Fox, commonly referred to as just Fox, is one of the biggie movie production studios that has released some of the biggest films of all time including *Avatar*, *Titanic* and the first six *Star Wars* movies. We all know that fanfare heard above and since 1935 the company has used the FOX trademark in association with its movies and later television network.
In March 2016, Echo Fox filed to register a trademark for the org’s name in a class that covers “entertainment services in the nature of electronic sports and video game competitions, exhibitions, and tournaments” and several more sentences of a description but you get the gist of it. 20th Century Fox has requested and be granted an extension of time to oppose the ECHO FOX trademark. This is the usual first step in the process and afford 20th Century Fox more time to decide if it will oppose the mark, walk away from the opposition or even work out a settlement agreement with Echo Fox.
In deciding whether to issue the registration, the Trademark Office must determine if the ECHO FOX mark is confusingly similar to FOX and its family of marks. The term “fox” is highly generic but many people, especially when associated with entertainment, when they hear the generic “fox” term automatically associate it with the movie studio. The real question is: does the fame of the mark extend to the area of esports….I think not. Especially by putting the term “Echo” in front of “Fox” confusion does not seem that likely.
This process will hold up the issuance of a trademark registration for some time for Echo Fox. 20th Century Fox has a long time to decide if it will oppose the mark, it literally has until Thanksgiving to make up its mind. In the meantime, Echo Fox will not be prevented from using its name unless 20th Century Fox wants to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement which is about as likely as me being signed to play for Echo Fox.