In honor of the St Louis Cardinals’ unbelievable late season comeback and amazing Word Series victory, I am dedicating this week’s post to looking at the early history of the Cardinals’ trademarks and federal trademark registrations. You know, especially since neither Fox nor ESPN is going to bring you this type of hard-hitting and eye-opening coverage. Hey, I’m just filling the void and giving Cardinals fans what they want.
Anyway, my search of the Trademark Office’s records revealed that the St. Louis Cardinals own approximately 30 trademark registrations and three pending trademark applications. Their oldest trademark registration dates back to 1967 and is simply for the word CARDINALS for “entertainment services in the nature of baseball games and exhibitions, some of which services are rendered through the media of radio and television broadcasts.” The registration states that the St. Louis Cardinals have been using the CARDINALS trademark since 1899. I’m not exactly sure why it took the Cardinals almost 70 years to register their most valuable piece of intellectual property, but my research indicates that Major League Baseball and many of its teams did not start actively registering their trademarks until the late 1960s and early 1970s. Better late than never I guess (kind of like the Cardinals’ resurgence in the last month of the season).
On the same day in 1967 that the Cardinals applied to register their CARDINALS trademark, they also filed a trademark application to protect the logo depicted below, which matured into a federal registration in January 1968:
The trademark registration includes a statement that “the mark consists of the representation of two cardinals standing on a baseball bat” and that the “drawing is lined for the color red.” When this trademark application was filed almost 45 years ago, you couldn’t just submit a color drawing to the Trademark Office like you can today. Instead, you had to line the drawing to indicate color and then state in the application what color was being represented. Man, what a complete pain that must have been. I’m glad I wasn’t a trademark attorney back in those dark ages!
The Cardinals were evidently very busy in 1967 because it filed yet another trademark application for the logo shown below:
The trademark is lined for the color red and is described as “the representation of a cardinal grasping a bat in a batter’s stance.” All three of the registrations I’ve noted are still active, meaning that the Cardinals continue to use these trademarks in commerce in connection with their sports entertainment services. In fact, the registrations were recently renewed only a few years ago.
Now, as many of you know, the Cardinals won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in October 1967. Of course, I’m not necessarily saying that filing all of these trademark applications brought the Cardinals some good luck that year, but I do note that Boston didn’t obtain a trademark registration for its RED SOX mark until 1978. So, it isn’t inconceivable that those trademark applications were the difference between the Cardinals earning their eighth world championship and the Red Sox breaking the Curse of the Bambino. Go trademarks!!