So, when did we stop storming over to uspto.gov every time someone suggested a team name? Because, and don't shoot the messenger here, but someone already thought of using "Miami Vice" to sell products.
|Word Mark||MIAMI VICE|
|Goods and Services||IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: CLOTHING-- NAMELY, HATS, CAPS, GLOVES, MITTENS, KNIT CAPS,[ KNIT SKI MASKS,] SWEATSHIRTS, SWEATSUITS, T-SHIRTS, TANK TOPS, PAJAMAS, ROBES; HALLOWEEN COSTUMES INCLUDING MASKS SOLD AS A UNIT; [BELTS,] SWIMWEAR, [CHILDREN'S UNDERWEAR AND BRIEFS AND FOOTWEAR]. FIRST USE: 19850408. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19850408|
|Mark Drawing Code||(1) TYPED DRAWING|
|Filing Date||May 24, 1985|
|Original Filing Basis||1A|
|Published for Opposition||February 11, 1986|
|Registration Date||May 6, 1986|
|Owner||(REGISTRANT) UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC. CORPORATION DELAWARE 100 UNIVERSAL CITY PLAZA UNIVERSAL CITY CALIFORNIA 91608(LAST LISTED OWNER) UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 100 UNIVERSAL CITY PLAZA 1280/6 UNIVERSAL CITY CALIFORNIA 91608|
|Assignment Recorded||ASSIGNMENT RECORDED|
|Attorney of Record||MONIQUE CHENG JOE|
|Disclaimer||NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "MIAMI" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN|
|Type of Mark||TRADEMARK|
|Affidavit Text||SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20060518.|
|Renewal||1ST RENEWAL 20060518|
I report, you decide - provided "you" are an intellectual property attorney, or the Superior Court of Miami-Dade County. To my jaundiced yet unpracticed eye, this says that yes, David Beckham and his Amazing Friends may, in fact, name their team "Miami Vice FC," or something to that effect. What he and MLS cannot do, however, is sell clothing, namely hats, caps, gloves, mittens, knit caps, knit ski masks, sweatshirts, sweatsuits, t-shirts, tank tops, pajamas, robes, Halloweed costumes including masks sold as a unit, belts, swimwear, children's underwear, briefs and footwear, with "Miami Vice" on it.
Also, they might have a tiny problem with the production or sale of DVDs with "Miami Vice" in the title, should the team win anything and wish to release a commemoration of their season. Call it a hunch.
Let's assume that Beckham Inc. must have someone hanging around the water cooler whose job it is to know this. The team now has three options.
(1) Negotiate with Universal to put "Soccer Team" on literally everything the team markets. There's precedent for this - it was called "In Living Color: The Television Series" after the "Cult of Personality" band complained, and "Arrested Development" made the "Motherboy" story after ultimately unsuccessful grumbling from the "Mr. Wendal" guys. But this one is murkier. TV shows don't usually depend on apparel sales the way that sports teams do, this was a TV show unusually devoted to fashion, and the argument that no one could possibly confuse the two founders on the celebrity-driven nature of the MLS team. Someone dim enough to buy a ticket to see Beckham sit in a suite might also wonder aloud where Phillip Michael Thomas is. So this route might be pricey.
2. Take on Universal in court. This route will be pricey, as well as extremely uncertain.
3. Come up with another name.
Option 4 might be to suggest the name, even going to the trouble of making up a quick logo and picture, and bask in the cheap publicity before going with Option 3. I hope this was the plan all along. One advantage of Option 4 is to distract the kind of people who would ordinarily flock to uspto.gov, either to scoop MLS, or to stake a claim.
For examples, "Miami FC" is still owned by Traffic, despite its being out of use at the moment; and "Miami SC" doesn't seem to have been claimed by anyone.
Nor have "Club de Sport International" or "Club Sportivo Internazionale," if the Beckhams are determined to have a traditional sounding name and a TV tie-in.