LA Gear pops up to challenge trademarks of Rams, Chargers

A shoe brand last prominent in the 1990s is putting up a fight against the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

LA Gear, most famous for its light-up sneakers 25 years ago and endorsed by the likes of James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Joe Montana, is asserting that trademark filings for "LA Rams" and "LA Chargers" are too similar to LA Gear because the trademarks share "LA."

Filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveal that the Rams and Chargers were in settlement talks, but the Rams recently broke off those talks and earlier this month filed a formal answer to LA Gear's claim of ownership.

The Rams' rebuttal asserts that LA Gear can't own "LA" because it refers to the abbreviation of the city of Los Angeles. Furthermore, the Rams point out that hundreds of trademarks have been granted within the clothing goods category for the terms LA or Los Angeles.

The Rams, through a spokesperson, declined comment, while the NFL and the lawyer of record for LA Gear did not respond to requests for comment.

Records with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that LA Gear is still in talks with the Chargers.

"The Cleveland Browns probably have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than LA Gear does of winning this case," assessed Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer in Washington, D.C.

After its light-up shoes fell out of favor, LA Gear filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and was later purchased by ACI International, its current owner.