The Denver Broncos might have had the Orange Crush defense, but the team shouldn't be allowed to trademark the term, at least according to Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which owns the Crush soda brand, whose most popular flavor is orange.
An online record shows that the Broncos filed paperwork to trademark the phrase "Orange Crush" in September 2015 through the NFL's chief litigation officer, Anastasia Danias. Last week, lawyers for the beverage makers filed an opposition to the attempt.
If neither the Broncos nor the NFL abandon their filing, the case will be heard before judges on the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which will make a call as to whether the team should be allowed to register the mark.
An NFL spokesman said the league would have no comment.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group argued in its filing that it has six trademarks related to the phrase, which has been in use since 1916 and was first trademarked in 1924. The company said that it had permitted licensees to use the trademarks, whose value would be damaged if the Broncos were granted ownership of the phrase. Dr Pepper Snapple Group says Crush soda sells 150 million units a year and is in 13 million households.
Orange Crush, a term originally used to describe the Broncos defense of the late 1970s, and popularized by sportswriter Woody Paige and began to be used again recently as the Broncos' defense became more dominant.
Thanks in part to this defense, the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 in February.
The Broncos visited the White House on Monday to celebrate the Super Bowl title.