In the World Wrestling Entertainment, there used to be a wrestler by the name of Billy Gunn. He was part of a fairly popular (which is actually an understatement) tag team called the New Age Outlaws. I think, it would be safe to say that this tag team was one of the most popular wrestling tag teams ever. As with most things, time passed them by and they eventually lost most of there popularity. Wrestling fans got bored with them and they got labelled as washed up. WWE eventually split the two up and both wrestlers floundered since.
WWE likes to trademark names. Almost every WWE wrestler's name or likeness is a trademark of WWE. It's part of the reason why they come up with nicknames, so that it is the property of the WWE. This means that most of these wrestler cannot take this gimmick or name to another wrestling promotion. It is a pretty smart business strategy. If a wrestler has this amazing character that connects with fans then the WWE doesn't have to worry about that character being a succes elsewhere if the wrestler happens to leave. Pretty much is all kinds of awful for the wrestler who played this amazing character because he's now forced to come up with a new gimmick.
Anyway, Billy Gunn's wrestling partner was the Road Dogg. A wrestler that liked to yap his mouth a lot but never chewed on bones or barked at postal workers to my knowledge. He was fired by the WWE a few years ago and seeked employment in rival wreslting promotion, TNA. He couldn't use the Road Dogg name due to trademarks. He then became BG Jammes. Yeah, I know the name is awful but then again, what ever is a road dog????
Billy Gunn was recenlty released by the WWE. Random sidenote, notice the misspelling in Dogg and Gunn??? That is because it's easiers to trademark misspelled words. Anyway, back to the story that you probably didn't care about in the first place. The problem is, Billy Gunn can now not use the name that he has had for over 10 years now (he's been a long time WWE wrestler). TNA picks him up because they are desperate for known wrestlers and Billy Gunn happens to be one. Even if Billy Gunn hasn't been a good one for 5 years now but why let the truth get in the way of spending money.
The problem is, Billy Gunn's real name isn't that intimidating. Actually, it would be an awful wreslting name. Kip Sopf. Does that sound like your next world champion? Didn't think so. TNA needed to come up with another name because the name Billy Gunn would result in a lawsuit. The name Kip Sopf is just not going to cut it. What does the artist formerly known as Billy Gunn get billed as?
The New Age Outlaw.
Hmmm. . . Soemthing doesn't fit here. The New Age Outlaws would be trademarked by the WWE. I know, they haven't used the name since the team split up in 2000 but WWE isn't known for dropping trademarks. I also know that they would have 'New Age Outlaws' copyrighted but would the plural really change things? Plus there is the fact, they are using the name with a wrestlers that used to be a part of that tag team. They aren't even trying to hide the fact that they are ripping an idea from the WWE. I've got a feeling that WWE lawyers will be swooping down on this one soon. Would TNA have any case when it comes to trademark infringment?
I don't know much about the legal ramifications of trademarks. This one seems like a no brainer to me. TNA broke a trademark deal. Thus TNA would be the real outlaws. Meanwhile, poor Kip needs a new wrestling name.