During the St. Louis Blues’ improbable run to their first Stanley Cup, the team found itself with an almost equally improbable new victory song—Laura Branigan’s 1982 disco-pop hit “Gloria.”
In early January 2019, five Blues players were in Philadelphia watching the Eagles-Bears NFL wild-card playoff game at a local dive bar, Jacks NYB. The song “Gloria” came on and a patron latched on to it, urging the bar to keep playing it during every commercial break. A few beers and an Eagles victory later, the bar’s chants of “Play Gloria!” have transformed it into a living meme. The Blues players brought the song into the locker room and out onto the ice, and the legend grew like a playoff beard through their epic Cup run.
Now, after the ticker-tape has settled, Jacks NYB claims it owns trademark rights to the phrase “Play Gloria!”; they not only filed trademark applications for the phrase, but sent demand letters asserting their rights. It’s a move that feels a little too straight out of the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And like most other IP disputes that manage to reach the sports-channel crawl, it is rooted in some basic misunderstandings about the nature of trademarks.
Pete Bromaghim ’s practice focuses on all aspects of trademark law, in addition to copyright, domain name, and related intellectual property matters. He has extensive experience in trademark selection, clearance, and portfolio strategies. He oversees the prosecution of trademark applications domestically and internationally, and heads up global enforcement matters involving many famous marks. He also handles many opposition and cancellation matters before the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and assists with federal trademark litigation.