WWE is currently in a legal dispute with NFL player Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs, and his Stone Cold Jones LLC company.
The dispute is over the "Stone Cold Jones Soda" line that Jones has released with the KC Soda company. WWE believes the name infringes on two trademarks they own - "Stone Cold" and "Stone Cold Steve Austin," which are related to WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin.
WWE filed a complaint with the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) on September 14. The complaint noted the following:
"The popularity, success, and recognition of WWE's STONE COLD Marks are the direct result of the substantial time and money invested by WWE in development, marketing and promotion of the marks. WWE's STONE COLD Marks are uniquely and exclusively associated with WWE and have become indelibly linked in the public's mind in exclusive association with and in exclusive sponsorship by WWE.
WWE has used and continues to use its STONE COLD Marks in connection with its wrestling entertainment services and related goods through its programming which is distributed domestically and internationally through the WWE Network and is available on WWE's other official online outlets (e.g., wwe.com and WWE's YouTube channel), and its online merchandise store. WWE's use of its STONE COLD Marks predates any date of first use upon which Applicant can rely.
Applicant's "Stone Cold Jones" mark begins with and adopts WWE's STONE COLD mark in its entirety; is nearly identical in sight, sound and commercial meaning to Opposer's STONE COLD Marks; and is likely, when used on or in connection with the International Class 25 goods and International Class 41 services set forth in the Stone Cold Jones."
Stone Cold LLC responded to WWE's complaint on October 23, and indicated that the name is widely recognizably by Jones, in conjunction with the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones' company believes there is no confusion over the names, and that they should be able to use the "Stone Cold" name for the line of sodas. The response from Stone Cold LLC noted the following:
"As a result of Jones' continuous and exclusive use of the STONE COLD JONES mark since the time of Jones' first use in or around January 2019 in connection with its products, the Mark enjoys wide public acceptance and association with Chris Jones ("Mr. Jones"), professional football player and pro bowler. Further, the Mark has come to be recognized widely and favorably by the public as an indicator of the origin of Mr. Jones in conjunction with the National Football League ("NFL"), and more specifically the Kansas City Chiefs—2020 NFL Super Bowl Champions. Such goodwill and widespread usage has caused the Mark to acquire distinctiveness with respect to Mr. Jones, and caused the Mark to become a valuable asset of Jones
There is no likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception because, inter alia, the Mark and the alleged trademark of Opposer are not confusingly similar.
Jones has been using the Mark and developing consumer recognition and goodwill therein since at least January 2019, such use being open, notorious, and known to Opposer and such knowledge, in turn, being known to Jones. Throughout this time, Opposer has failed to take meaningful action to assert the claims on which it bases this Opposition, on which inaction Jones has relied to its detriment. Opposer's claims are consequently barred by the doctrines of laches, acquiescence, and estoppel.
Any and all acts alleged to have been committed by Jones were performed with lack of knowledge and lack of willful intent."
Stay tuned for updates on this trademark battle and more pro wrestling trademarks.
(H/T to HeelByNature)