The Chicago Bears are really struggling with this whole Twitter thing. In their attempts to secure a special Twitter hashtag for NFL purposes (i.e. #OnePride for the Detroit Lions) they’ve run into trademark issue after trademark issue. The latest defeat comes at the hands of the University of California, Berkeley, where the Golden Bears have crushed Chicago’s attempts to use #GoBears.
And the #GoBears has been reclaimed from the Chicago Bears. Trademark law wins again— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) September 11, 2017
Cal trademarked “Go Bears” back in 2004, along with a number of bear-themed slogans and hashtags. Chicago really should have done their homework if they didn’t want to get shown up by a bunch of college kids.
This isn’t just a frivolous case either. When Chicago claimed #GoBears for their official NFL hashtag, it amended their wishbone C logo to every use of the hashtag, including when it appeared in the official Cal football Twitter bio.
This is actually the second time the Chicago Bears have lost a trademark case to a college team. The University of Arizona Wildcats hold the trademark on “Bear Down,” which features prominently in the the Chicago Bears fight song. Chicago wanted to secure #BearDown as a NFL-branded hashtag and were likewise foiled.
The Bears are hardly alone in trademark disputes with college athletics. Universities have had the jump on the copyright game ahead of many NFL teams. One of the more prominent snags came from a couple years ago, when Texas A&M revoked the “12th Man” trademark that they had loaned to the Seattle Seahawks, forcing them to rebrand their supporters the “12s.”
But for now, Lions fans can enjoy this schadenfreude as their division rival goes 0-2 on the season, and Cal can go ahead and borrow the Pride Of Detroit’s own hashtag: #WeOwnTheBears.
Update 9/13/17: It appears as if the Chicago Bears have now made their hashtag #DaBears. Stay tuned as we find out in a couple of weeks that it’s trademarked by “Saturday Night Live” or the University of Maine or something.