Chicago Baseball

Startup's Logo Prompts Concerns From MLB, Cubs

The Chicago Cubs iconic “win” flag has been the topic of some discussion after a startup applied for a trademark featuring a similar “W,” a move that caught the attention of Major League Baseball.

WalletHub, a financial services website run by Washington, D.C.-based Evolution Finance, applied for a trademark in 2012 for its logo, a white “W” on a green background. The application, however, was opposed by MLB over concerns the image could be mistaken for trademarks by the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.

While the move isn’t uncommon for trademark applications, WalletHub posted details about the two-year negotiation with MLB on the company’s website, calling MLB “bullies.”

“The pure hypocrisy of MLB’s case is nevertheless hard to swallow,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou wrote in a blog post on the site. “The Nationals are claiming infringement upon an old block-letter logo no Washington team has used in over 50 years, while their signature curly W logo is basically identical to the Walgreens logo. And the Cubs are alleging encroachment of a block-W flag that hardly anyone associates with them and could just as easily be confused with the fan regalia of someone from the University of Washington or the University of Wisconsin.”

WalletHub claims there are more than 1,000 “W” trademarks that exist, many similar to others.

The MLB’s argument isn’t necessarily over the logo itself, but rather how it is used and when.

MLB spokesman Matt Bourne said in a statement that MLB “has been engaging in conversations with Evolution Finance about how its mark can be used and registered so as to avoid confusion with the MLB marks.”

“We believe we are close to a resolution and are interested in resolving this matter amicably,” Bourne said.

A Cubs spokesman declined to comment.

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