Innovation Asset Blog

Major League Soccer weighs copyright controversy

The Cascadia Cup was established in 2004 to cement an ongoing informal rivalry between three professional soccer teams from the Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Now that each squad has been officially incorporated into Major League Soccer, league organizers are struggling to decide what role they should adopt in trademark management and branding strategies.

According to the the league website, team supporters recently went so far as to assemble a legal council dedicated to defending a trademark and tradition that predates the clubs' inclusion in MLS by several years. While this move has demonstrated a certain level of commitment, MLS officials insist that the two sides must move forward with discussion of collaborative trademark management options.

"I follow all of the Twitter comments and all of the social buzz, and there is a view that we should just stay away from it. That's not really fair," MLS commissioner Don Garber told The Seattle Times. "At the end of the day it does involve our teams, it does have implications if it's misused, and I think the leaders of the council understand that."

Garber told reporters that the league's legal team will not abandon its pursuit of trademark ownership as of yet, but he is more than open to constructive suggestions for how the MLS can positively influence the administration of the Cascadia Cup without formal litigation or trademark acquisition.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.