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By Bill Mills
Paintball Sports Promotions has released the dates for the 2003 Paintball Sports Promotionsí National Professional Paintball League tournaments on their web site, NPPL.com.
The use of the name, NPPL by PSP may well lead to some confusion amongst paintball players and fans, and may become a rather heated issue in the coming months. Under US trademark law, the first company to use a name in business, has the exclusive right to use that name. Registering that name with the US Patent and Trademark Office is a formality that records the ownership of the name as a registered trademark. The act of registration does not prove who has the legal right to use it, and an improperly registered name can be contested in court, which is a lengthy and costly process.
In the early 1990s, the National Professional Paintball League was formed as a corporation owned by teams competing in the league. The NPPL contracted with various promoters to produce NPPL sanctioned tournaments. By that late 90s, that group of promoters had congealed into a fixed set, and the league itself disintegrated, due to lack of involvement by the players who owned it. In August of 1999 the State Of New York dissolved the NPPL corporation.
The names NPPL and National Professional Paintball League were still used by the event promoters in advertising of the events they produced, and league decisions; such as rules and discipline were handled by player representatives still operating as a loosely formed league. In early 2001, the separate event promoters joined forces to form Paintball Sports Promotions.
Also in 2001, player representatives began work at reorganizing and restructuring the league. At the 2001 Gettysburg Open informal elections were held in which, Tom Cole was confirmed as league president with Chuck Hendsch as vice president. In the summer of 2001 Cole resigned with Hendsch taking the presidency. Hendsch then formed National Professional Paintball League, Inc., a California based corporation. And Scottie Flint, who had registered a trademark to the name NPPL, turned the registration over to the corporation.
In the 2002 season, NPPL, Inc. and PSP started out together, split and rejoined again. NPPL, Inc. has announced its 7 man series for 2003 to be separate from Paintball Sports Promotions. PSP, in a move that surprised many is still using the National Professional Paintball League and NPPL names in conjunction with their 5 man, 10 man, and new X Ball series for 2003. PSP contends that since amongst its owners are owners of the original NPPL corporation, and since its owners have been continuously using the NPPL name in business since the mid 1990s, that it is the rightful owner of the name. PSP additionally has under its immediate control, the domain name NPPL.com and is using it to promote their 2003 tournament series, while NPPL, Inc. is using NPPL.info.
Undoubtedly two completely separate groups using the NPPL name on their events will create as much confusion initially as Bob Longís Ironmen and the Southern California Ironmen after Bob Long split from the original Ironmen team. Similarly many are likely to refer to Chuck Hendschís NPPL or NPPL, Inc. and PSPís NPPL to clarify.
For the 2003 season PSPís NPPL has announced its event dates for the 2003 season, which will include the LA Open, Nevada Open, Chicago Open, Atlantic City Open, and Paintball World Cup. In addition to the long standing 5 and 10 man tournaments, PSP will be adding X Ball competition and a new team classification. The Semi-Pro classification will be the equivalent what had been the pro classification in 5 and 10 man tournaments. Professional teams, which have bought into the X Ball franchise options, will be competing in a professional X Ball league, with their matches held at the PSP tournaments. Additionally, a few semi-pro and amateur teams will be given the opportunity to compete in X Ball matches.
Additionally Paintball Sports Promotions is making plans to hold player representative elections at the Los Angeles Open, in order to keep the structure under which they have been running, where players determine rule changes, prize distribution and disciplinary actions.
National Paintball Supply has announced
in THIS RELEASE that
it will be backing the PSP 2003 NPPL series.
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