The Battle Is On For The Soul (And Name) Of The Cleveland Guardians
Well, folks, it seems the Cleveland Guardian's World Series Record isn't the only thing about the MLB team that hasn't changed since 1948. Despite more than 70 years elapsing since their last major W, it seems the team's computer skills, alongside their trophy-nabbing habits, have evidently remained stagnant, a sentiment proving through the fact it seems that apparently, no one from the organization bothered to Google the team's new name, website options, and social media handles availability until it was too late.
In the days since the team announced that they had dropped their previous moniker for something, erm, significantly less racist, several news outlets noted that while their new branding was a marked improvement, the name “Cleveland Guardians” was not so original. The name had been in use by a local roller derby team that had already claimed several digital spaces bearing their title, including a Facebook URL, Instagram handle, and the domain for their website, www.clevelandguardians.com.
Yet instead of shelling out big bucks to the inadvertently cybersquatting roller derby crew, or, ya know, preventing the entire issue by adding a simple Google search to their painstaking naming process, which included narrowing down a list of 1,200 options to one winner through large-scale fan survey and 140 hours of interviews with front office workers, community figures, and supporters of the team, per AP News, it seems the battle will head to court in what Chicagoans would call a cross-town classic.
Although the roller derby club has existed for “nearly a decade," according to Fortune, they never filed to trademark their name, only applying four days after their MLB counterparts. Yet when it comes to copyright law, it seems the long-running legal convention of “you snooze you lose" does not apply in this situation – as the business outlet noted, trademarks are generally determined by which party used the name in question as opposed to who filed the claim first.
Although it may sound like legal armageddon, the end is not necessarily nigh for either party. Although the baseball team could be forced to go back to the drawing board in pursuit of a new name if their MLB money isn't enough to win the case, especially as both entities exist as sports teams representing Cleveland which could lead to confusion, such an outcome is not necessarily set in stone. as Fortune also elucidated, the entire debacle has been excellent for the roller derby team's PR, which could prompt them to settle.
So, folks, take it from Cleveland's MLB team – when naming something, Google is always your friend.