New USFL Facing Lawsuit from "Real USFL" Owners

Photo courtesy of USFL Twitter 

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The new USFL has already hit its first road block before the games have even started.  With their impending schedule drops happening today, Fox Sports, the owners of the 'new' USFL are being sued by the "Real USFL" owners for trademark infringement, false advertising, and false association related to their league name, logos and, uniforms.  According to Pro Football Talk, the lawsuit was filed in California court by "Real USFL LLC" against the new league.

The lawsuit does make sense.  Despite Fox Sports arguing that the trademarks were abandoned, with the original league ending over 30 years ago, the trademarks do still have value.  In fact, we know this because Pittsburgh Maulers merchandise still existed in Pittsburgh, even before the new league was announced.  Was it front and center on the folding tables in the Strip?  No, it wasn't.  But the Maulers logo was still recognizable and merchandise was available for purchase in some Pittsburgh shops. 

Also, Fox Sports must have known this, otherwise why wouldn't they just start a brand new league with different names, color schemes, logos, etc.  The value was in those remembering the league way back when and thinking, "oh yeah, I do remember those two seasons.  What ever happened to that league?"  The brand remains recognizable to those 50 years and older.

Also, where the league really screwed up was in its initial marketing.  It branded itself as a reboot to the original USFL.  However, they now claim no association with the original league.  Someone in their marketing department clearly made a faux pas with the word "reboot" then.  

We'll see if anything comes of this lawsuit and if it will delay the start of the "New USFL".  While the league does not appear to have overwhelming support or backing from sports fans just yet, it could be just one more sport that doesn't play in the Spring because legal issues can't get settled.  In a year where we may only have Pittsburgh Penguins playoffs to talk about in regards to Pittsburgh sports this spring, I was looking forward to having something additional to root for.  Now that too is in jeopardy.