Atlanta Braves Oppose Disney's Attempt To Trademark 'Brave'

Disney intends to use it as title of forthcoming Pixar film.

The Walt Disney Company is facing off against the Atlanta Braves ballclub in an effort to trademark, "BRAVE."

Disney is seeking to register the word, the title of a forthcoming Pixar animation film about a skilled archer caught up in a fairy tale, but has run into opposition from a baseball team that has used the plural form of the word for nearly a century.

According to records at the United States Patent & Trademark Office, Disney has been registering different iterations and uses on "BRAVE" for the past year. Most recently, a registration attempt was made on October 20. Disney's film is scheduled to be released in June, 2012.

But the Atlanta team has indicated that it intends to oppose registration of the mark. The club has been granted until January 18th to file its opposition papers with the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board.

Stitch Kingdom, a blog that reports about Disney matters, reports that "private negotiations between The Walt Disney Company and the Atlanta National League Ball Club are currently taking place."

The website also notes that the Braves don't possess any trademarks on the singular use of "Brave" and that a Google image search failed to turn up any use of "Brave" merchandise.

In the past, the trademarking of words relating to Native Americans has been controversial.

For example, a panel at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins' trademark in 1999, ruling that the name and logo were offensive to Native Americans. After 17 years of fighting, a U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington allowed the team to keep its trademark.

The Atlanta Braves are a franchise that has taken several names since its founding in 1871.  The team has been known as the "Red Stockings," "Red Caps," "Beaneaters," "Doves," "Rustlers," "Bees," and finally, the "Braves." The team first used the latter in 1912 when it was based in Boston. The team moved to Milwaukee in the 1950s and then Atlanta in 1966.

Lately, the team has been a big media institution, purchased by Ted Turner in 1976, passed along to Time Warner through a corporate transaction, and sold to Liberty Media in 2007.


Twitter: @eriqgardner