California Trademark Attorney® Blog

Redskins QB RGIII Runs into Trademark Trouble

April 25, 2013

football.jpgCalifornia - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III burst onto the NFL scene last season as a rookie. With his RGIII nickname gaining popularity he chose to try to protect it by filing an RGIII U.S. trademark application. The application is for "shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, footwear, hats, caps, athletic uniforms".

When the RGIII Trademark Application published for opposition on December 25, 2012, Research Group 3, or "RG3," an Anaheim, California maker of suspension parts for motorcycles filed a request for extension to oppose it. Research Group 3 is considering initiating an action with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to try to bar the QB from using his nickname as a trademark. Research Group 3 feels the public may be confused into thinking that the RGIII trademark is somehow associated with RG3.

Rather than battle it out in court, it appears that the sides are attempting and enter into a consent agreement whereby both parties can use their respective trademarks in a way that avoids confusion. This would involve making a clear delineation between the use of RGIII and RG3. Research Group 3 has stated that it is not trying to profit from QB's fame and wishes him the best on and off the field. What it hopes to accomplish is to avoid consumer confusion in the marketplace.

Research Group 3 claims that it has evidence of actual confusion in that it has received inquires as to whether the Redskin's QB is associated with the company. Research Group 3 has the option of filing a Notice of Opposition which would initiate a proceeding with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The TTAB would then decide the fate of Robert Griffin III's trademark. If it is determined that a likelihood of confusion exists and that Research Group 3 has prior use, the TTAB could decide to prevent the RGIII trademark's registration.

With the increasing fame of the QB and his RGIII nickname, it is understandable that Research Group 3 would want to protect its trademark from any misperception. The company started making off-road motorcycle suspension parts in 1998 and hopes to "bring the art and science of off-road motorcycle suspension to a whole new level."

Research Group 3's popularity grew as it created the technology to aid professional and amateur riders to maneuver motorcycles through challenging terrain. It continues to be endorsed by professional figures in the industry, including Travis Pastrana, Broc Hepler, Rodney Smith, Nick Wey, Brian Deegan and Ronnie Faisst.