It’s no doubt that there’s similarities between the Houston Roughnecks logo and the old Houston Oilers logo from a time before the Houston Texans existed. This was designed to be a throwback to the old-school football fans in Houston that are fond of the glory days.
2020 was a rocky year for the XFL after it was forced to suspend it’s inaugural season 5 games in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but seemingly had a better second half when it was announced that the league would be purchased out of bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the new ownership group is starting 2021 off with some not-so-great news.
The NFL has opposed a trademark application for the XFL's Houston Roughnecks logo.
On December 28th, the NFL filed court documents claiming the Roughneck's logo was too similar to the Houston Oiler's logo.
Perhaps the first of many @TheRock vs. NFL battles?
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) January 8, 2021
In the opposition, the NFL is contending that the Roughnecks logo is too similar too the Houston Oilers. The complaint goes on to say:
Although the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee and changed its name to the Tennessee Titans, the Oilers Mark still retains valuable goodwill and consumer recognition.”
It goes on to state that the NFL still sells merchandise with the Houston Oilers logo and concludes by saying:
Consumers encountering Applicant’s (XFL) Mark, particularly in connection with Applicant’s (XFL) Services, are likely to associate the mark with Opposers (NFL), based on similarity of the parties’ marks and their respective goods and services.”
Basically this comes down to confusion in the market. What does this mean? Well, we just don’t know yet. If the NFL wants to press the issue, the XFL may be forced to update the Roughnecks logo to create some difference between the two designs. During the short 2020 season, Houston was one of the teams that did have an alternate logo to fall back on. Although, introducing that logo may cause more issues as some have said that the alternate closely matches that of the New England Patriots.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more on this situation. Do you think that the Roughnecks logo is too similar to the Oilers? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.