The NFL’s preseason began on Thursday, which means we’re only a few weeks away from football season. And in my house, that means Packers games.
The Packers have won more championships than any other team in the NFL. This phenomenon has led to the town of Green Bay being known as“Titletown”; in fact, no fewer than 17 local Green Bay businesses use the term Titletown in their names.
This raises some red flags for the Packers, who own a trademark for the term Titletown. When they initially filed in 1990, it was to use the term on apparel like shirts and hats, but in November 2010, the team expanded the trademark to cover other businesses like resorts, conference centers, restaurants, bars, concerts and others, as well as an array of real estate services.
The Packers spend a good deal of time policing their trademark rights to “Titletown,” even convincing a local distillery to open a new bar and restaurant under the name “Green Bay Distillery” instead of “Titletown Distillery,” as it had originally planned to do. So needless to say, I was very surprised to find out that the Packers don’t own the domain name Titletown.com.
The domain was first registered in 1996, and currently does not host any content. According to the Wayback Machine, in the past the domain has pointed to a site with links to Packers news as well as to merchandise. We’ve seen other examples of UDRPs where past content has been factored into the Panel’s decision, meaning the Packers could have a fighting chance at recovering the name via UDRP.