DeMarcus Cousins wears a retro Royals jersey at a Kings home game (PHOTO: U.S. PRESSWIRE)
SACRAMENTO, CA - While the Sacramento Kings ponder a move to Anaheim, they appear to be already laying the groundwork for a name change.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office received an application on March 3 by a Nevada corporation seeking the exclusive right to use the name "Los Angeles Royals."
Another application filed the same day reserves the name "Anaheim Royals." The city of Anaheim, which owns the Honda Center, has reportedly insisted that any team playing there carry the city's name.
The trademark applications were filed on behalf of Crickets Corp., a Nevada corporation represented by Sacramento attorney Scott Hervey. Hervey specializes in intellectual property issues and also represents the Maloof family, owners of the Sacramento Kings and the Palms Casino in Las Vegas.
The web domains losangelesroyals.com and anaheimroyals.com have also been registered within the past three weeks, although the registration was done through a proxy which doesn't reveal the name of the actual registrant.
The Kings played for years in Rochester and Cincinnati as the Royals, and have lately been wearing their retro Royals jerseys in home games.
A name change would help the team avoid confusion with the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.
The Los Angeles Royals and Anaheim Royals trademark applications offer a broad explanation of how the names might be used:
Entertainment services in the nature conducting sporting events, namely cricket exhibitions, baseball exhibitions, hockey exhibitions, football exhibitions, basketball exhibitions... entertainment services, namely, providing a website featuring multimedia material in the nature of television highlights, interactive television highlights, video recordings, video stream recordings, interactive video highlight selections, radio programs, radio highlights, and audio recordings...
Contacted Tuesday at the Sacramento law office of Weintraub, Genshlea and Chediak, Hervey seemed to be taken aback when asked if the Kings' owners were behind the trademark applications.
"I don't discuss client relationships," Hervey replied after several moments of silence.
Hervey also registered the names "Anaheim Royals of Southern California" and the "Orange County Royals."
Sacramento trademark attorney Dan Ballard said it's common for companies to apply for three or four trademarks when they're considering a name change.
"It's actually a placeholder. It's a way to preserve the mark and inform the rest of the world that is your mark," Ballard said. "It doesn't necessarily mean they are going to use it, but they've registered it before they actually need it."
The Maloofs have until April 18 to let the NBA know if they're staying or leaving.