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Brooklyn Nets...or New York Nets

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All the signs--literally and figuratively--suggest the Nets will be renamed the "Brooklyn Nets" two years hence. The architects' renderings of the Barclays Center show the word "Brooklyn" written in large script on exterior signage as well as on logos inside.

But wait. If that's the case why has Bruce Ratner made sure that he retains the trademark for "New York Nets" as well? It was, of course, the team's original name...unless you count the "New Jersey Americans".

Some research at the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals that New Jersey Basketball LLC, the partnership that owns the team, trademarked both the "Brooklyn Nets" and "New York Nets" shortly after the Ratner group bought the team. All manner of materials are covered by the trademarks, from audio recordings to hosiery. Typical is the "New York Nets" trademark registration no. 78380334 for published materials, assigned to the partnership. It was filed on March 8, 2004. The same day, the partnership registered a similar trademark, No. 78380508, for the "Brooklyn Nets".

Of course, the Nets once had the rights to the "New York Nets". Before moving to New Jersey 30 + years ago, that was their name. (Curiously, the team quietly trademarked "NY Nets" in 1998, even creating logos. Why? Was the team considering a move back then? It wasn't revealed in the papers. The team ultimately abandoned the trademarks.)

It is possible that Ratner wants to make certain that no one else secured the "New York Nets" trademark and thus avoid confusion. With good reason. His internet people weren't so quick with www.brooklynnets.com or www.nynets.com or www.newyorknets.com. Those URL's have long since been snapped up.

Or maybe the team's new owners are keeping it handy because they think it better suits their plan to make the team a "regional" team.

What is known is that Ratner has not abandoned any of the "New York Nets" trademarks.