Do the Jacksonville Jaguars Own the Rights to ‘Sacksonville’? Former Linebacker Says
Last January, Florida’s own Jacksonville Jaguars made to the AFC Championship game for the first time in 21 years. On the strength of an elite defensive line, the Jaguars were near the very top of the league in sacking the quarterback for the second straight season. This lead to the team adopting the alliterative nickname ‘Sacksonville’. As this season started, the Jaguars continued to use that name in marketing content and on merchandise.
However, a former player is claiming that he actually owns the rights to the term. According to reporting from CBS News, Dan Skuta — who played linebacker for the Jaguars for two seasons — is attempting to block the team from obtaining trademark rights for the term ‘Sacksonville’. In this post, our top-rated Miami trademark litigation lawyers provide an overview of the issues in dispute in this intellectual property case.
Understanding the Former Linebacker’s Case Against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Dan Skuta signed as a free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Spring of 2015. He played 26 games for the team, spanning the two seasons. For all but the most diehard of football fans, his time with the Jaguars has been largely forgotten. Dan Skuta himself only recorded 1.5 sacks while on the team. However, he claims that he was far ahead of the curve when it comes to the term ‘Sacksonville’.
In July of 2015, Mr. Skuta registered the ‘Sacksonville’ Instagram page. Soon after that, he also began selling branded merchandise on his website: Sacksonsville.org. While thus far he has made $3,000 in total sales on ‘Sacksonville’ merchandise, he does have clear evidence that he has used the term in a commercial context.
When the Jaguars attempted to register the trademark earlier this year, the former linebacker filed an official ‘Notice of Opposition’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Dan Skuta contends that the team’s use of the mark will confuse reasonable consumers who may be seeking to purchase his personal merchandise and products. In support of his opposition motions, he also claims that the team has actively supported his use and marketing of the term. His legal team raises two key facts: 1) the team never took any action to stop him from using the trademark Sacksonville and 2) the team has used its official account to like and share content from his Sacksonville Instagram page. For its part, the team told reporters that they have no specific comment on this case and that they are in talks with Mr. Skuta to resolve this issue.
Get Help From a South Florida Trademark Litigation Lawyer Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami trademark law attorneys have experience handling all sides of trademark law disputes. If your company is currently involved in a dispute over who owns the rights to a trademark, we are prepared to protect your rights. For immediate legal assistance, please call us at 561-291-8298 (West Palm Beach) or 305-985-5281 (Miami). We also have an appointment-only meeting location in Palm Beach Gardens.