Image: blizzard entertainment, major league baseball
The Overwatch League logo fits pretty well into the pantheon of traditional sports league logos. Major League Baseball thinks it fits a little too well.
After Blizzard Entertainment submitted their application to trademark the Overwatch League logo — Blizzard’s premiere Overwatch esports league kicking off later this year — MLB filed a request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for an extension of 90 days to oppose the trademark, according to a blog post on the Morrison / Lee law firm’s website.
The reason for the MLB’s hesitation is likely because the Overwatch League logo is arguably similar to the MLB’s own logo. Take a look:
Image: major league baseball, blizzard entertainment
Both logos feature a rounded rectangle with two colors split by a white, left-facing silhouette.
Despite the similarities, it’s easy to tell which is which, even without the league names underneath. One silhouette is of a baseball batter about to hit a ball (or watch it fly past his chest because that ball is clearly outside the strike zone) and the other is of a person (the character Tracer) sprinting forward with her guns drawn.
In the next 90 days, the MLB will investigate the trademark claim and confer with counsel about whether they will oppose it.
There are a number of reasons why someone would oppose a trademark, according to Gerben Law Firm, but two reasons that could lead the MLB’s opposition to the Overwatch League logo trademark are if it suggests a connection between the Overwatch League and the MLB, or if it dilutes the MLB’s logo (both are based on similarity of design).
The issue with the similarity argument is that the MLB logo is already incredibly similar to another sports league’s logo: the National Basketball Association.
Image: major leage baseball, national basketball association
These two sports leagues manage to exist independently without diluting each other or suggesting there’s a connection (outside of them being unique professional sports leagues).
The MLB has until July 26 to submit its opposition, and then it’s up to the Trial and Appeal Board to decide whether the Overwatch League logo is too similar to the MLB’s logo.