As plans emerged Monday for St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles, the franchise still owns trademarks for the "Los Angeles Rams" name.
Last renewed in late 2013 by the franchise that moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim in 1980 and then to St. Louis after the 1994 season, one trademark is for “entertainment services, namely professional football exhibitions.”
A second trademark, also registered to the St. Louis Rams Partnership at 1 Rams Way in St. Louis, provides rights to use the ‘Los Angeles Rams’ name on a swath of products that include trading cards and sweatshirts.
The Oakland Raiders, frequently mentioned as a possibility to relocate to Los Angeles, also maintain two active trademarks for the Los Angeles version of the franchise’s name.
Christopher Larkin, a longtime Los Angeles intellectual property lawyer who once represented the NFL, said that franchises typically maintain such trademarks after relocating.
“These are actually pretty limited,” he said.
The Los Angeles Lakers, for instance, still own the trademark to the "Minneapolis Lakers" name, referring to their home from 1947 to 1960. There are similar registrations for long-gone franchises such as the Baltimore Colts and Houston Oilers.
A batch of fresh trademark filings by an NFL team interested in relocating to Los Angeles to cover a broader range of merchandise could indicate a potential relocation is moving forward, Larkin said.
“It would be a signal that there is some serious likelihood that one of these teams will move here and wants to get their applications on file before somebody else,” he said.
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