The Albany Patroons Trademark Controversy

Quinn: It’s 1800LAW1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the phone. Hey, Paul.

Paul: Hey, good morning, guys.

Quinn: He’s not on the horn anymore.

Cantara: He’s on the telephone.

Quinn: He’s on the phone, on the telephone.

Cantara: He’s really stepped it up, Quinn.

Quinn: Using the telephony this morning, Paul.

Cantara: So I got this piece from Churchill from I think last week in the TU, and I love it. It’s, “This is nothing less than an affront to Albany’s civic pride.” There’s a guy in Syracuse who waits for trademarks to expire…

Quinn: Bastard.

Cantara: …and then he swoops in and he buys them. And I guess he bought the Albany Patroons trademark when it lapsed back in 2016. And the Patroons are calling this extortion. Paul, does this appear to be extortion to you?

Quinn: Well, I did that with websites. What’s the difference?

Paul: Yeah. So I had to reach out to a patent attorney, a friend of mine named Mike Hoffman, and Mike kind of went through this with me last night. You know, it’s complicated, there’s not a straight answer, but the bottom line is maybe. Maybe he’s gonna have it. He certainly registered it. They’d let it lapse. But there’s a thing called common law, which could resurrect this, and that’s this hearing they’re going to. If you can show you had continuous use, you can show that you will, in fact, have an intent to continue using it, there’s a special court through the patent office, they can get this back. But I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t know how much they used it. I don’t know what they did. But at this point, it is possible that the Syracuse Patroons will be alive and well.

Cantara: Or the guy just…like I know he’s selling Albany Patroons t-shirts too, you know what I mean.

Quinn: Oh, he’s probably milking the whole thing.

Cantara: I don’t know how lucrative it all is. But my…

Quinn: You do that in maybe 50 different states, to the tiny little teams. I don’t know.

Cantara: Well, that’s why I was gonna ask Paul. Is this a source of income? Is this how some people make their money, just by grabbing these trademarks?

Paul: Yeah. It’s sort of like grabbing websites, you know. Some people go out and grab these websites, and then they kinda…they go to…I mean, the whole business of GoDaddy, right, is that they have these websites and you buy or lease them from them. So this is sort of a way of doing that. Gotta pay attention, find them out, they would be recognized. One, two, three years had passed, he then took it. Now, he’s going out and getting t-shirts. Well, what they’d look at is the intent. Is he doing this just to kinda beat the system, or does he truly have an intent to sell? Has he sold t-shirts, you know, to two people? Is he going out there, trying to make it happen? Or is he really just trying to steal this trademark? So at this point, he’d done nothing wrong. I don’t wanna explore that. He’s pretty opportunistic, pretty smart, and maybe the Patroons weren’t that smart.

Cantara: Is it like the complete opposite of the definition of Patroon, which is a person who’s given property or land and granted certain manorial rights over it?

Paul: That’s impressive. That’s impressive that you know that, yeah.

Cantara: I didn’t understand the subtext of it all. You know, part of me is like, “What’s the point of having copyright laws if you’re gonna let them lapse and still let the person have it.”

Quinn: Right?

Cantara: You know what I mean? I don’t know.

Quinn: I don’t.

Paul: Yeah.

Quinn: There’s always another workaround.

Paul: I could not get a super straight answer. I mean, he’s a real bright guy I talked to, he gets it, but I couldn’t…you know. I was looking for a definitive, and the definitive is “We’re gonna find out what the court says.”

Cantara: Hey, Paul. Quinn used to buy website names. He still owns a few great ones. He owns

Quinn: That’s,

Cantara: What else do you own…

Paul: Wow, okay.

Quinn: Oh, God [crosstalk 00:03:27].

Cantara: …that you can share with Paul?

Quinn: One of my favorites is

Cantara: That’s another good one.

Quinn:, all of these go-to picks websites, don’t worry about it.

Paul: I did the same thing.

Quinn: There’s also

Paul: Quinn, I don’t have that one, but when the Washington Redskins were having problems with the name “Redskin,” I went out and I got the Washington Pigskins, thinking Pigskins, football. You know, I was ready to just cash in on that. So far, nothing. I keep paying my $4.

Quinn: I may have stinker moves like that too, Paul.

Cantara: That’s a great idea though. Well, if you think [inaudible 00:04:01], it’s like all of a sudden, you need somebody else to think [inaudible 00:04:04] to buy your website. It’s crazy.

Quinn: Yeah.

Cantara: But that’s good stuff, man. Thank you, Paul.

Quinn: See you, buddy. Paul Harding, of course, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 1800LAW1010,