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NFL Files Opposition To XFL’s Houston Roughnecks Logo

Trademark attorney Josh Gerben released via Twitter that the NFL has filed paperwork to challenge the use of the oil rig in the Houston Roughnecks logo.

This is because the XFL version of the derrick is similar to that of the old Houston Oilers logo.

Gerben said via phone call that the NFL would have to prove that the XFL’s use of the logo hinders their ability to sell Oilers merchandise, and that they (the NFL) have the exclusive rights to use the rig.

I’m sure your first question is, “why now?” Why not before. Gerben says:

“Procedurely, when you file a trademark application it goes through the government’s review process first. And then once the government approves any trademark for registration there’s a 30-day window that opens up. Which anybody that feels they might be damaged by the registration can file an opposition.”

The original opposition was filed on December 11th, 2019. When the USPTO officially published the mark by the XFL on June 30th, the window to oppose was opened. That is when the first extension was applied for.

The first extension was filed in July 2020. The two extensions were subsequently filed during the bankruptcy case, noting that negotiations were taking place.

When the league was bought by Dany Garcia, The Rock, and RedBird Capital, the extensions had run out, and now a date has been set by the court for this to move forward.

Alpha Opco has 40 days to respond, or the matter will go to court. That date is February 6th, 2021.

Gerben says – and this is just his opinion, he’s not involved at all with the case – in all likelihood, this will not end up in court, it would instead be settled out of court.

This does not mean the case HAS to go to court, nor does it mean that Dani and The Rock are taking it to trial. Simply that the extensions filed for by the NFL are exhausted.

According to trademark law, two extensions may be filed before the case is set for trial date.

The NFL’s standing is that even though the Oilers franchise moved to Tennessee and changed their name, the logo still retains valuable goodwill and consumer recognition.

The paperwork says:

“Consumers encountering Applicant’s Mark, particularly in connection with the Applicant’s Services, are likely to associate the mark with Opposers, based on the similarity of the parties’ marks and their respective goods and services.”

NFL paperwork opposing the Roughnecks use of the oil derrick

In effect, the NFL feels like the XFL’s use of the rig could confuse a consumer into believing the two are connected.

Once more information is released we will get you up-to-date.

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Content creator, that lives in Virginia Beach. Father of 3 amazing girls, lover of all things football. Trying to add my voice to the mix. #ForTheLoveOfFootball #SilenceIsNotAnOption



  1. Truley

    January 9, 2021 at 11:21 am

    I grew up in Houston being an Oiler fan. I’m a Texan through and through. Not once have I ever thought of the damn Oilers when looking at the Roughneck logo. It’s a big “H” with the star of Texas above it and it mimics a Texas staple the foundation of what Houston was built off of an oil well. Petty NFL… sad

  2. Bill

    January 9, 2021 at 11:53 am

    WTH? That logo hasn’t been used in years.

  3. Sean Plourde

    January 9, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    The Oilers don’t even exist anymore…why does the NFL have to be so shallow about everything?

  4. Annie

    January 9, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Sir, I know it is all about money but I’m a true Oiler Fan and still have all of my luv ya blue stuff. When I saw the Roughnecks logo in no where shape or form that I confused it with the Oilers. I thought it was a great ideal for those of use that miss the Oilers that some one would remember us.

  5. Danny Spice

    January 9, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Oilers just mad that the neckz logo looks and it’s repp n H town to da fullest da neckz hold N it down for H town nuff said nuff luv

  6. Tony Jebousek

    January 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    It’s a shame. Houston was stripped of the Oilers. And now, we can’t even have a logo that identifies with us. The only similarly is that they both have oil derricks in them. The style and color scheme are totally different. Did they trademark ALL oil derricks?? Are the Cowboys the only team that can incorporate a star? How far do they want to take it??
    Sour grapes NFL.

  7. Dude

    January 21, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    The NFL lawyers needed to prove they are actually working. My guess is they figured they better defend their territory, even if it’s ridiculous, a slap in the face of NFL, Houston, and XFL fans…they don’t care, they don’t get paid if they don’t stir up trouble, or act like they need to defend a product that they abandoned.

    Isn’t there a Steeler’s symbol the NFL “borrowed”? You’d think they could back off and be decent about this considering the Steel Industry was cool about it. But nope the NFL isn’t about a brotherhood of football, its about greed and mothership multibillion dollar stadiums.

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