NHL's Kraken Sued by Seattle's Kraken Bar & Lounge over Name Trademark Violation

Blake SchusterContributor IApril 23, 2021

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 21: The Team Store for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL's newest franchise, opens for business on August 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)
Jim Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL's Seattle Kraken are already facing their first opponent before even putting together their official roster. 

The league's newest expansion club is the subject of a $3.5 million lawsuit filed on Thursday by a local bar and music venue that claims the team's branding and plan to open a nearby practice facility restaurant risks "irreparably harming its brand," according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

Punk-rock dive bar Kraken Bar & Lounge filed the trademark infringement and tortious interference suit in King County Superior Court and is asking the team be prohibited from using "The Seattle Kraken."

The bar's owners, William Knupp and Kat and Daniel Colley, "had begrudgingly tolerated the team’s name choice" even after new customers dressed in "hockey themed attire" began coming to the bar hoping to make it a regular gathering place, per Baker. However, "the final straw, according to the lawsuit, came when the team this month announced it will open the Kraken Bar & Grill at its planned $80 million training facility."

“That The Kraken Bar would or should become a ‘hockey bar’ or a sports bar of any kind was anathema to The Kraken Bar and its regular patrons,” the lawsuit says, per Baker. “The Kraken Bar’s regular patrons frequented the bar precisely because it was a dive-bar, associated with affordable food and drinks as well as cutting edge live music performances by well-known punk and metal bands.”

The bar has been in business in Seattle's University District since 2011.

The NHL did not respond to the Seattle Times for comment.

It's the second time in recent years an expansion team has found itself in a trademark battle. When the Vegas Golden Knights unveiled their team name and logo, the United States Army argued against the club's trademark registration due to their exhibition parachute team using the same name. The issue was eventually resolved in 2018 after negotiating a trademark coexistence agreement with the NHL club.