Princess Merida may be a force to reckon with when it comes to certain projectiles, but she won’t be proficient when it comes to baseballs or tomahawks if the Atlanta Braves have anything to say about it. While the recent news of Paramount Resources’ Pixar Petrolium is making a big splash, another significant war has been raging quietly on the trademark front — for months no less.
It all started back in March of last year when we reported on trademark applications which appeared to have been confirming a title change for what was then known as The Bear and the Bow, but is now known to be Brave.
Fast forward to this past summer when — after filing a number of extensions — the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, owners of the Atlanta Braves, formally filed an objection to many of the trademark applications. Although trademarks are specific to their singular and plural forms and the Braves do not possess any trademarks for the word BRAVE (only BRAVES), the organization believes that damages will occur as a result of Disney’s trademarks being approved as they have used the singular form before on merchandise and insist it is common for fans, media, et al to use the singular form when referring to a single player, whereas the pluralized form refers to the entire team.
Private negotiations between The Walt Disney Company and the Atlanta National League Ball Club are currently taking place in regards to several of the objected filings with the ball club intending to file an objection against yet another of the registrations. In other words, don’t expect to see Disney/Pixar ‘Brave’ day at Turner Field any time soon (but don’t rule it out either).
Companies must actively police and enforce their trademarks and take all reasonable action to protect them otherwise the trademark may be considered abandoned and thrown into the public domain. Popular examples of this occurring include aspirin and zippers.
ADDED 12/18/11 – A simple, but effective Google image search (Atlanta “Brave” -”Braves”) failed to turn up any BRAVE (singular) merchandise save for one out-of-print book titled If I Were an Atlanta Brave, part of a ‘Picture Me’ series from Playhouse Publishing which, according to Amazon.com, featured many such titles for various professional sports teams, all of which appear in their singular form in the title.