The National Basketball Association has filed trademark applications covering five potential nicknames for its New Orleans team now known as the Hornets, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.
Trademarks for the New Orleans Pelicans, Bullsharks, Swamp Dogs, Rougarou and Mosquitos have been filed on behalf of the New Orleans Hornets NBA Limited Partnership, according to the website. The reports were filed Dec. 5 by Anil V. George, a lawyer at NBA Properties Inc.
“When teams may be looking at a possible name change, it is standard practice for the NBA league office to file trademark applications on the team’s behalf,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said yesterday in an e-mail. “We filed trademark applications for multiple possible team names for the New Orleans franchise.”
The trademarks were first reported by the website BehindTheBuckPass.com.
“This is an ongoing process still being discussed, but the eventual decision is in the hands of the NBA,” the Hornets said in a statement.
Tom Benson, who owns the city’s National Football League franchise, the Saints, bought the Hornets earlier this year for $338 million. He said at the time that he would like to change the team’s nickname to something more fitting for the city.
Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month that Pelicans was the leading candidate to be the team’s new nickname starting next year. The brown pelican is the Louisiana state bird and appears on the state flag and seal.
The Hornets moniker was carried over when the team moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, prior to the 2002-03 season.
-- Editor: Rob Gloster