WSL Slide Tackle Women’s Independent Soccer League Over Near-Identical Trademark Rego - Stab Mag

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WSL Slide Tackle Women’s Independent Soccer League Over Near-Identical Trademark Rego


elsewhere // Feb 28, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) is a self-described “equality project” created “for women by women” operating as a second minor league to the National Women’s Soccer League.

It aims to pave an alternative path to women’s pro soccer in “A TRULY AUTHENTIC, SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE, INTELLECTUALLY” PROGRESSIVE, & INCREDIBLY INTERESTING” independent league. It is expected to commence in 2023. 

The WISL was founded in response to the flourishing of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top men’s soccer league in the US. According to Soccer Today, “Our U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team is the most successful in the world and can proudly claim four FIFA World Cup titles. The men cannot even claim a final match and yet today there are three professional men’s leagues in the USA and several large lower-level leagues as well.” 

Earlier this month, the WSL challenged the WISL’s trademark registration on the grounds that WISL is ‘substantially identical or deceptively similar to another previously applied for/registered mark for similar/closely related goods and/or services’, of the WSL. The appeal is currently being reviewed by The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

The WISL’s declaration reads as follows “INDEPENDENT WOMEN have worn the cloak of a lone warrior for far too long. We’ve beaten the odds of inequality to pursue our dreams. We’ve gone against the grain, proving stereotypes wrong while shattering glass boxes. To all the independent women who get it done, solve the problems, and keep it real… the independent women who stand in their truth, on their own two feet, and stand up against injustice… You’ve walked through fire. We see you. We believe in you. We trust in you. WE ARE YOU… AND THIS IS OUR LEAGUE. Step into a culture where you can grow beyond the confines of your armor; where the beautiful game becomes an arena for elevating your leadership style; where you build your team for the next chapter of your journey. THIS IS OUR HAVEN, AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW OUR PRESENCE. SUIT UP AND RISE ABOVE.”

Will the WSL really suit up and rise above the WISL’s lofty awoken spirit? Or will WSL/WISL confusion heighten tensions between surf and soccer fans, not to mention women’s equality movements, for years to come?


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