Dodgers Forget They Left Brooklyn In 1957, File Complaint Against Brooklyn Burger Over Logo

Fifty-three years ago, the Dodgers told the borough of Brooklyn to shove it up its nose with a rubber hose and lit out for the warmer climes of Los Angeles. Now they’ve returned — well, at least their lawyers have — to file a trademark infringement complaint against a local burger company for daring to use a similar font and the word “Brooklyn.”

The L.A. Dodgers (note: L.A., as in 3,000 miles away) have gone after the owner of Brooklyn Burger because they think the logo and name would somehow, possibly in some world, confuse people into thinking the burger company was associated with a team that hasn’t existed in over half a century.

The Brooklyn Burger logo was actually approved for trademark back in April, and yet the Dodgers have just filed their official complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Brooklyn Burger’s lawyer tells Gothamist that the whole thing is just stupid:

People who see [Brooklyn Burger's logo] in Brooklyn aren’t going to think the Brooklyn Dodgers are selling hamburgers… It’s crazy for the Los Angeles Dodgers to claim exclusive rights to the word ‘Brooklyn.’

If you check out the Brooklyn Burger site, you’ll see that the company is actually the official meat patty provider for a Brooklyn baseball team — the minor league Cyclones in Coney Island.

UPDATE:
A rep for Major League Baseball tells the L.A. Times that the complaint was actually filed by the league on the Dodger’s behalf:

We filed the complaint on behalf of the Dodgers… As MLB, we are obligated by law to protect our trademarks or we are at risk of losing them. We filed the notice of opposition with the trademark office in order to keep our options open. We are continuing to examine the situation.

L.A. Dodgers Sue Over Brooklyn Burger Logo [Gothamist]

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  1. Emerald4me says:

    Our team needs the money. We had a sucky year.

  2. dolemite says:

    Wow, that’s quite ridiculous. What world do the lawyers for the baseball team live in? You can’t claim ownership to the word “Brooklyn” (because it wasn’t theirs in the first place), and you can’t claim a font happens to be similar to yours, when the font is standard cursive writing!

    • SlappyFrog says:

      They’re probably claiming ownership of the word Brooklyn in the stylized script.

    • dcarrington01 says:

      Why not, seems to work for Monster…… Wonder why they haven’t gone after Monster Energy drinks yet…….

      • MrEvil says:

        Because as much as Monster cable would like to, Monster Energy drink is in deep with Coca Cola. Monster cable wouldn’t make a pimple on the ass of Coca Cola in terms of legal might.

    • Griking says:

      I don’t think it’s so much the name, I think it’s more about the fact that they used the old Brooklyn Dodgers logo.

      • midwestkel says:

        Well the fonts are completely different and in the US you can’t copyright/patent a shape that is why Arial and Helvetica look exactly the same. They have no reason for this, seriously to keep their options open? That’s bullshit…

  3. framitz says:

    Font is somewhat similar, but it is a DIFFERENT font. I doubt the Dodgers have a leg to stand on with this case.

  4. c!tizen says:

    eh, it’s just the same old West Coast trying to stick it to the East Coast thing. We’ve learned nothing from Biggie and Pac.

  5. obits3 says:

    It’s not even the same type of cursive writing! Look at how both photos write Brooklyn.

    • MikeM_inMD says:

      You’re right, for the photos presented. A quick Google image search brought up several examples of very similar script used by the team for the word Brooklyn, including one where it was across the front of an officially-licensed-by-MLB uniform shirt. Goliath wins again.

  6. fatediesel says:

    Someone has to pay for the owners divorce.

  7. wrbwrx says:

    i hope they dont have to spend much money on this publicity. stupid, but great publicity.

  8. Bativac says:

    Sure, the team hasn’t existed for awhile, but does the organization still own a trademark? Sears.com, for example, sells a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey, and the logo looks very similar to the Brooklyn Burger. Not the same, but similar. Enough to constitute infringement? I dunno, but it’s pretty close.

    http://imagehost.vendio.com/a/7926460/aview/brooklyn_50.jpg

  9. JMH says:

    A) They didn’t “sue” Brooklyn Burger, they filed a complaint in response to a trademark application that Brooklyn Burger had themselves filed.
    B) Nobody is claiming “exclusive rights to the word “Brooklyn”, as the misinformed quote said. They’re claiming rights to a specific graphic representation of the word “Brooklyn”, for which they OWN A TRADEMARK.
    C) If Sears is selling a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey with official MLB tags, you can be damn sure that they have authorization to do so.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, doesn’t anyone READ what’s going on before they start writing about it anymore?

    • SlappyFrog says:

      I cannot believe you would take this kind of stand against hamburgers of all things. Don’t you like hamburgers?

      What have hamburgers ever done to you?

      /end couldn’t resist sarcasm ;)

    • spazztastic says:

      THIS. ESPECIALLY on this site.

    • dolemite says:

      Wait, so I can file for a trademark for a bastardized version Times New Roman 12, “Brooklyn” and anyone that ever uses TNR 12 is in trouble (Because they are slightly similar to my stylized TNR)?

      Because that’s all they did…took standard cursive writing, stylized it very slightly, and have the word “Brooklyn”.

      • Billy says:

        If you’re using that mark in trade, I would say that you have the beginnings of an OK case. On the other hand, that cursive logo is way more distinctive (a term of art) than TNR. Also, that script logo is definitely connected to Brooklyn Dodgers, meaning, it has “acquired distinctiveness” (another term of art). In other words, it’s not as simple as you make it out to be.

    • squidpants says:

      it’s called hyperbole, JMH, on the part of the business owner.

  10. Vanilla5 says:

    Um, while they may have somewhat similar serifs, those are NOT the same fonts. The Dodgers need to get over themselves. If they are feeling regret about leaving Brooklyn, then they should have some talk therapy to work it out…in LA…where they reside.

  11. lucky13 says:

    I think the NY Attorney General should make the Dodgers move back to Brooklyn if they want to enforce their suit. Bonus points if the residents of Brooklyn are allowed to give “dem bums” the proper sendoff they missed out on back in the day. Double bonus points if they can work a package deal to include the Giants!

  12. Morte42 says:

    Do people not get how trademark laws work? If you don’t fight for your trademark, you will lose it. It sucks, but that’s the way it works.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Yes it sucks. The guys with the money force those without to give up or fight a STUPID lawsuit, where the only winner is lawyers.

    • EllenRose says:

      I suppose they lose the trademark – but what are they doing with it, anyhow? Can the Minnesota Twins trademark “Senators” just because they used to be the Washington Senators?

      Ridiculous. They left half a century ago. They have no more reason to control “Brooklyn” than I do.

      • Billy says:

        People still buy and sell tons of Brooklyn Dodgers stuff. Google.

      • lucky13 says:

        Exactly – they should be able to defend their trademark for Dodgers but not Brooklyn.

      • JMH says:

        Sure they do. They’ve been using that logo (not just the word “Brooklyn”, but that particular stylized representation) as part of their business operations since, according to the trademark registration, 1939. The fact that they’re no longer located in Brooklyn is irrelevant.

      • MikeM_inMD says:

        The Twins (and MLB) could fight someone using a particular styled version of the word Senators, if it is the one they used before they left DC and they trademarked it and have been keeping the trademark since. The same goes for the team now known as the Texas Rangers.

      • psiphiorg says:

        If a movie or TV show set in the 1950′s wants to include an item with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ logo, they have to pay the MLB money. If MLB stopped defending that logo against infringement, movies could use the logo all day long without paying them a dime.

        That is why they continue to defend logos for teams that no longer exist.

  13. hotcocoa says:

    Tacky.

  14. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Nobody can ever write the word “Brooklyn” in cursive. Ever.

    • JMH says:

      No, nobody can use a specific stylized representation of the word “Brooklyn”, including the underline extending from the end of the “n”, and then use that representation to sell merchandise

  15. JollyJumjuck says:

    This is almost as bad as some copyright holders, completely unrelated to the “composers,” demanding royalties for the public performance of a 19th century children’s birthday song….

    • Billy says:

      Copyrights can be bought, sold, and licensed. Happens all the time. Nothing special about the Happy Birthday song.

      • Nick1693 says:

        1. The copyright should be expired by now.
        2. It was been based on an existing children’s song.

        It clearly shouldn’t continue to be under copyright.

  16. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    In related news, the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins have filed a lawsuit against Congress…

  17. macoan says:

    MLB needs to do something. I live in Illinois, and wanted to go to a Dodger’s game… and ended up at a burger joint instead!

    I mean they are just so similar – about 1500 miles away from me (one east, one west).

    I just feel sorry for those who are going out for burgers and end up at a ballgame instead.

    • MikeM_inMD says:

      Most (all?) ballparks sell burgers, so at least they’d get fed. (If they could afford to get in the gate.)

  18. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Elvis hasn’t existed for nearly 50 years, does that mean his image/likeness/etc… isn’t covered by trademark law?

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I think whoever owns merchandising rights to his image gets money if someone else uses it. I’m not sure if that’s Lisa Marie or what. I don’t know how that would affect Elvis impersonators. It’s a good question, though.

      Btw, he died in 1977 so it hasn’t been 50 years yet.

  19. 99 1/2 Days says:

    God forbid you lose the Brooklyn Dodgers trademark…because uhhh…

  20. CoachTabe says:

    While I get what people are saying here, is there anybody that *REALLY* believes this burger place didn’t choose that particular font, color and style because of its association with the Brooklyn Dodgers? It sure seems obvious to me that’s why the burger place chose it. That’s pretty much the definition of infringement. Absolutely MLB should get the burger place to knock it off.

    • JoeTaxpayer says:

      So are you suggesting that Brooklyn “anything” is not allowed to use a script font?
      You are right that one still shouldn’t infringe on the Dodger’s property, regardless of their current location, but those fonts look different to me and anyone else who looks even for a moment.

  21. sopmodm14 says:

    uhh, sorry, if you change your name, especially after you quit out on the best borough in NYC (yes, i’m a proud Brooklynite !!), then you essentially give up your rights to use it for your now crumby team

    that organization doesnt even know who owns it

    i dont see them going after dodgeball makers or the automaker, that must be less ridiculous

    so if i wrote BROOKLYN in script/cursive, i have to pay a royalty ?

    i’d like them to come down and negotiate w/ our mafioso associates, lol

    • ryder28910 says:

      You have zero understanding of trademark law. And MLB still owns and licenses all historic team logos.

  22. PsiCop says:

    Re: “As MLB, we are obligated by law to protect our trademarks or we are at risk of losing them.”

    If the business they’re suing isn’t misusing the Dodgers’ trademark — which is quite obviously the case here, since there is absolutely no way that a burger place in Brooklyn, NY could possibly be confused with an MLB team in L.A. — then there is nothing to be lost, and no reason to sue to protect it.

    I guess the IP lawyers of the country are in desperate need of work.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Isn’t it that the public can confuse the business as having an association or being part of the other?

  23. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I don’t wanna be startin’ somethin’, but I wonder if Brooklyn Brewery should be watching its B?

    • MikeM_inMD says:

      I think they get away with it by the way they do the loop at the bottom of the B. It doesn’t immediately make me think of the Dodgers the way the burger joint’s logo does.

    • Mighty914 says:

      Pennant Ale is definitely suspect!

  24. Japheaux says:

    If they partner up the burger with a frothy ale they could advertise with a ‘Fear the Beerd’ and get the MLB front office into the suit for the Giants as well.

  25. Not Again says:

    Could there be rumblings, that the Dodgers are thinking of moving back to Brooklyn soon? That would boost their revenue by coming back to New York. Are the McCourts thinking of selling?

  26. MPD01605 says:

    Next week:
    “LA Dodgers file suit against Warner Bros., claims ‘Duck Dodgers’ causes confusion between comedic performances and animated TV show.”

  27. Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

    Hate the Dodgers. H-A-T-E them. Have never forgiven them for leaving Brooklyn. And I never will. To hell with them. It’s their fault I’m a Yankee fan.

  28. Mknzybsofh says:

    The ‘Update’ is a crock of shit. Looks like someone took a page from the Monster Cable bullshit (lawyers) office and is now trying to wipe their collective asses with it.

    Next someone is going to tell me I can no longer use my initials to initial paperwork because ‘Someone’ ‘somewhere’ might get confused and think that the company that shares the same initials as me did the actual endorsement of what the hell ever it was I happen to be signing.

    Aka this is utter fucking bullshit.

  29. Winteridge2 says:

    What about the “Brooklyn Pickle”? I thought all these years they were owned by the Dodgers…

  30. luckydayjp says:

    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:j7thnk.5.27

    They have a trademark, it is there right to enforce it. I know in Canada at least, a trademark has to be used or it will be expunged. There’s a good chance they are still selling and profiting from retro Brooklyn Dodger apparel.

    One issue though is that the trademark applies to apparel and not the restaurant industry.

  31. u1itn0w2day says:

    Kind of arrogant to assume that a professional sports team would be the only ones that could think up or use this logo & font. Or someone 50 years later who might not even know who the Brooklyn Dodgers were would be ‘stealing’ their design.

  32. jsfetzik says:

    See the problem here is that the statement from MLB the “we are obligated by law to protect our trademarks or we are at risk of losing them.” is 100% false. They are not obligated by law to do any such thing. They are allowed to sue in cases where they may be consumer confusion, but they are not obligated to in order to keep their trademark.