Red Sox in Trademark Dispute Over “B Strong”


lauren-thimmesch-ArYswT1kcKY-unsplashIt appears the defending World Series champs may be guilty of disregarding more than just the letter “r”. The Boston Red Sox have been sent a cease-and-desist letter from an El Paso-based non-profit organization over the team’s use of the “B Strong” slogan during the 2013 season. The Braden Aboud Foundation has held a trademark on “B Strong” since the organization was formed in 2007.  The foundation was created to honor Braden Aboud, who died in 2007 at the the age of 14 and focuses on improving the lives of young people in the El Paso area.

After the Boston Marathon bombings last year, the Red Sox began using the “B Strong” slogan on merchandise, uniform patches and marketing materials; it was even mowed into the outfield grass for the World Series. It was these repeated uses that prompted the cease-and-desist from the foundation, seeking to protect its intellectual property. The Red Sox have been in negotiations with the foundation for several months, and have offered a joint licensing agreement. The Red Sox’s repeated use (or misuse) of the “B Strong” slogan creates market confusion; one could argue, given the nationwide fanbase the Red Sox enjoy and the prominence of sports in the American landscape, that the Red Sox’ version of “B Strong” threatens to simply push the foundation’s slogan out of existence altogether. Were the foundation to take the matter to court, it would be unlikely to match the resources of the Red Sox, raising the question of which major league franchise can rightly be considered the “Evil Empire“.

Not sure if your IP is at risk? Take our Risk Quiz to find out!

Leave a Reply