As part of the NFL’s social media campaign, the NFL had each team choose a personalized hashtag, which shows a specific picture when posted on Twitter. This is fairly standard nowadays, as Twitter does these type of things for most major sports leagues, especially around playoff time.
However, as pointed out by Leslie Mitchell on Twitter, the Bears chosen hashtag may land them in legal trouble.
The Bears chose #GoBears as their hashtag, a trademark which is registered to the University of California Golden Bears, not the Chicago Bears.
Trademarkia.com shows that the University of California registered for the trademark on June 9th, 2015 and that it is a currently registered trademark.
The Bears ran into a similar roadblock last season when they intended to use the hashtag #BearDown for the same campaign. That trademark is owned by the University of Arizona, as they use “Bear Down” as their school’s official motto. They have had that trademark since October 11, 1988, and Trademarkia estimates it will not have to be renewed until October of 2018.
With that option off the table, it feels as if the best option could be the team’s unofficial rallying cry, #DaBears. The Bears do have that trademark according to Trademarkia, and have since 2013.
So, it’s entirely possible that they switch to that for their hashtag. They had something similar for their hashtag last season, using #FeedDaBears. However, that didn’t go over all that well with fans last season, and I’m not sure whether the Bears would want to run through that again.
This situation will be interesting to monitor as we get ready for the 2017 NFL season, which starts for the Bears next Sunday against the Falcons.