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The Atlanta Braves Are in a Legal Dispute With Disney Pixar Over Brave For Obvious Reason

In one of the biggest cases of “pick your battles,” the owners of the Atlanta Braves baseball team are reportedly “in negotiations” with Disney Pixar over the title of their next big release, Brave. Because it’s called “Brave,” and that is also the singular version of “Braves,” and now there is a trademark battle that the Atlanta Braves have chosen to pursue. Because apparently, after experiencing one of the worst collapses in baseball history, the Braves need a victory, so they’re going after Disney …? Yeah, guys. This is a great plan.

According to Stitch Kingdom, the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, which owns the Atlanta Braves, has filed “a formal objection” to Disney’s trademark application to the word “Brave.” Even though the Braves do not have a trademark on the singular “Brave” (trademarks are specific to singular and plural words), they still believe that referring to a single member of the team as a “Brave” is still common enough to warrant a complaint against Disney. Because of this, and also because the singular “Brave” has been used on official team merchandise, the Club believes that Disney’s trademark will cause “damages.” (Though Stitch Kingdom conducted their own search to find Atlanta Braves merchandise featuring the word “Brave” and came up pretty short.)

Obviously, they did not take issue when the same exact movie was called The Bear and the Bow.

However, while this is not an actual lawsuit (right now, at least), negotiations are taking place between Disney and the team owners “in regards to several of the objected filings with the ball club intending to file an objection against yet another of the registrations.”

While I will not claim to be an expert in trademark law, this feels extremely frivolous on the part of the Braves. To my knowledge (and following a quick search on Google), the New York Mets have never sued either the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly referred to as “The Met,” or the Metropolitan Opera House, which is also commonly referred to as “The Met.” And all three of these well-known establishments are based in New York. But now the Atlanta Braves (who, coincidentally, are a major rival of the NY Mets) have not only chosen to go after a globally-known organization, but a globally-known organization that is famous for their lawyers.

So, good luck with that, Braves.

Top pic via Bleeding Cool

(Stitch Kingdom via Bleeding Cool)

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  • Charley Sumner

    Amusingly, it’s also worth noting that the Atlanta Braves play their spring training games at the Disney-owned ESPN Wide World of Sports of Complex in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

  • Selkiechick

    Given the controversy already surrounding Atlanta (and other teams) over the use of Native American stereotypes as mascots, they have a lot of gall to start a lawsuit over who has the “right” to use  the word brave (or braves).

  • Mike Perry

    Somewhere I think the Turners have their hand in this cookie jar. AFAIK, Ted doesn’t have any ownership stake in the Braves anymore but this seems like the exact kinda move he’d make just to spite his competitor.

  • Anonymous

    If I ask you to draw a picture of a brave, you can come up with something (Disney did, 24 times a second in places).  If I asked you to draw a picture of a Met, you’d be at a loss.  The difference is striking — there can be no confusion between The Mets and The Met, but there MIGHT be between Braves and Brave, since the latter are going to look somewhat alike by virtue of what they are.

    I do agree with prior comments though — Atlanta using the Disney/ESPN complex while continuing to have a Native American Stereotype Mascot isn’t helping things much, but as a protection of their property (which trademark law requires to be rigorously enforced), it’s a no-brainer.

  • Joanna

    How…. juvenile O.o

  • Maiasaura

    But they aren’t even using the same definition of “brave.”  I’m confused.

  • John Wao

    Why The Face!?

  • Francesca M

    Yeah I was gonna say. That is freaking ridiculous on their parts.

  • Francesca M

    Lol took me a moment.

  • K. Traylor

    I thought they were using the word as an adjective?

  • John Wao

    Apologies to Modern Family….

  • Amanda

    Lawyers clearly don’t know the difference between a noun and a adjective! Let’s not even get started on the verb “to brave”…

  • TKS

    People know the difference between the adjective and the racial slur.

  • tardis_stowaway

    Hometown baseball team, I love watching you play (even when you lose).  Why must the things you do off the field be so full of fail?  :(
    A disappointed Atlantan

  • Jill Peters

    I guess they (lawyers) are too stupid to figure that “Brave” and “Atlantia Braves” have two seperate and different meanings.  Why even my 6 year old niece knows the difference. 

  • Colin Lenton

    Its actually part of Trademark law that you are REQUIRED to defend your trademark, or you can lose it. Have you interviewed any intellectual property attorneys about this?

  • smartin

    “While I will not claim to be an expert in trademark law, this feels extremely frivolous on the part of the Braves.” I am! Actually, well, not completely — just took my Intellectual Property final for law school last week. I’m not sure what the exact law in Georgia or 11th Circuit is but I think you are right that they wouldn’t have a cognizable claim of infringement. Trademark dilution is another option, but it doesn’t seem that strong either. However, it seems like good lawyering to protect one’s trademark aggressively.

  • Glenn Buettner

    This just reminds me of when McDonalds tried to sue a Scottish restaurant over their trademarked name, even though the Scottish place predated the golden arches by over 50 years.

  • Adam Whitley

    I wasn’t aware that anyone considered the term “brave”  a racial slur.

  • @602Sounder

    You guys are missing the point. The baseball club is objecting to Disney owning the rights to the word “Brave”…not Disney USING the word “Brave”.  The club feels that if Disney is given the rights to the word then they will no longer be able to use it in their marketing.  In other words, every tshirt that references the word “Brave” would be subject to a trademark infringement against the club even though they were using the word first.  The club is just trying to point out that they already use that term as the singular form of their trademarked brand and don’t feel that they should be limited in using it simply because Disney chose the term as the title of their movie.

  • Roy Durbin

    the BRAVES are so dumb

  • Life Lessons

    Oh good grief.

  • Kalynn Osburn

    So I suppose by that logic they own Native Americans gross amounts of royalties for using a word that belongs to their culture.

  • Joan Miller

    Especially since I’m pretty sure Pixar is using it in a not-racist sort of way. 

  • Joan Miller

    How exactly does a red-headed scottish princess with a bow look like a stereotypical american indian with a tomahawk? 


    Please explain to me how anyone could get those two things confused. 

  • Joan Miller

    maybe good lawyering, but I don’t think it’s good PR. 

  • Frodo Baggins

    Say what you will about the Washington Redskins, at least they never tried to sue Disney over Pocahontas.

    On balance, though, they’re still racist fucks.

  • Mike Shamlee

    Right there with you. I will be happy to defend the Atlanta Braves at any opportunity…but maybe we should trade a lawyer for some offense.