Yesterday we reported that a new entity calling themselves Real USFL LLC has filed a lawsuit against the new USFL ownership group. This stems from a former executive of the old USFL claiming they still own the rights to the league, and ultimately are attempting to halt FOX from using the name.
Looking at the filings, they’re riddled with errors and ultimately look to be out to get a quick settlement.
We reached out to league officials for a statement on the situation, which they have now provided via David Bernstein of Debevoise & Plimpton, counsel to Fox Sports and USFL Enterprises.
The lawsuit filed yesterday by an entity formed just a week ago is completely without merit. The new USFL registered its intellectual property rights in 2011 and is excited to launch games on schedule on April 16. The eleventh-hour attempt to extract value from the exciting new USFL is utterly frivolous, and we are exploring all options for redress.”
As we expected, FOX was not going to take this sitting down. For the old owners to have a case, they would need to prove that they’ve been actively using the trademarks. Not to mention, anyone can go to the United States Patient and Trademark Office and see who owns the rights, and it isn’t the group filing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit against the USFL claims that FOX is trying to “reap where it did now sow”.
FOX is trying to reap where it did not sow and profit from confusion among fans of the real USFL, by claiming the legacy of something it didn’t build.,” says Nicholas Matich of the McKool Smith law firm, which represents the Real USFL LLC, the organization of former USFL owners and executives. “The Real USFL is acting to protect the legacy of the players, owners, coaches, and staff of the historic league. Quite simply FOX is claiming to be something that it’s not—the heir of the 1980s league that launched numerous hall-of-fame careers and changed the game of football.”
They argue that FOX could have created a new football league with a new name and new teams, and by such it shows that the old license had value.
Just because the case has been filed, does not mean it will go to trial. We’ve looked at what has been presented, and there’s nothing we see or the intellectual property lawyers we’ve spoken to that have given us any worries.
If you were concerned that the USFL would be in danger because of this lawsuit, we don’t think you have anything to worry about. The new USFL will be kicking off this April, but we’ll make sure to keep you updated as more information comes out on this lawsuit.
What are your thoughts on this situation? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.