Red Sox are trying to trademark ‘Boston’ for clothes, entertainment services: ‘These are absurd filings’

Two trademark applications for the word “Boston” were filed this month under the Red Sox name — an aggressive proposal that trademark law experts laughed at and stressed has an “extremely low” chance of getting approved by the federal government.

The filings, which can be found on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, aim to trademark the city’s name for all manner of clothing and entertainment services, including radio, podcasts, and television.

New York copyright law attorney Maryann E. Licciardi — of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman — filed the applications for Boston Red Sox Baseball Club Limited Partnership New England Sports Ventures, LLC, which has a Fenway Park address. When reached for comment on Thursday, she deferred to Major League Baseball.

Sources tell the Herald that the Red Sox weren’t aware of the endeavor, which was initiated by the league. MLB reportedly applied on the team’s behalf, and were also behind similar applications filed for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners the same day, March 17.

MLB did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday except to say that they were looking into the matter.

“They’re seeking the rights to the word ‘Boston’ itself, and the government should flat out reject this,” Boston University School of Law Professor Stacey Dogan told the Herald, as she chuckled at times about the trademark bid.

“The word ‘Boston’ has a zillion different meanings,” she added. “It doesn’t refer specifically to this team.”

The league owns all team “names, nicknames, logos, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions,” declares the legal notice on MLB.com.

Yet on the trademark applications, “Boston” isn’t even styled in the team’s classic font.

New England Law professor Peter Karol said the Sox trademark applications are too broad and aggressive.

“These are absurd filings and are an overreach,” he said. “They have a very low chance of being successful.”

“Trademark law doesn’t generally allow what they’re trying to do,” Karol added. “They’re reluctant to give a group the right to a place.”

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