top of page

Stanley Tumbler Cup v NHL Stanley Cup: Trademark Infringement?

Stanley Tumbler Cup v NHL Stanley Cup
Stanley Tumbler Cup v NHL Stanley Cup

While the Stanley Tumbler Cup burgeons in popularity, people have wondered whether it is infringing on the iconic NHL Stanley Cup. 

The Stanley Tumbler Cup represents a line of durable, insulated drinkware, often personalized and treasured by consumers for its utility in maintaining beverage temperatures. 

In contrast, the NHL’s Stanley Cup is steeped in sports legacy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League's playoff champion. 

Despite a shared namesake, their realms diverge sharply: one symbolizes personal convenience and lifestyle, the other, the pinnacle of hockey achievement. Trademark significance arises in distinguishing between consumer products and a coveted sports trophy, ensuring each maintains its unique brand identity and cultural resonance. Keep reading to find out whether there is any potential trademark infringement.

Is the popular Stanley Tumbler Cup infringing on the NHL’s Stanley Cup?

As a trademark attorney, the short answer is likely no. 

A trademark is a legally protected distinctive symbol, design, word, phrase, or combination of elements that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services from those of others. It helps consumers recognize and associate products or services with a particular brand.

Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a trademark that is confusingly similar to an existing registered trademark, without authorization, in a way that may cause confusion among consumers. Here are a few key points regarding what constitutes trademark infringement:

  1. Likelihood of Confusion: Trademark infringement often involves a likelihood of confusion between two marks. This confusion may arise if the marks are similar in appearance, sound, meaning, or create a similar overall commercial impression.

  2. Use in Commerce: Infringement can occur when the unauthorized use of a trademark is in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of goods or services.

  3. Dilution: Trademark dilution occurs when an unauthorized use of a famous trademark weakens its distinctiveness or tarnishes its reputation.

  4. Counterfeiting: Counterfeit trademark infringement involves the unauthorized use of an identical trademark on goods or packaging that is virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article, with the intent to deceive consumers.

Based on my search, Stanley (Tumbler) is a brand owned by PMI Worldwide. PMI Worldwide acquired Stanley in 2002. This Stanley trademark registration is for 

  • vacuum bottles, mugs and jars for food or beverage; insulated and non-insulated food jars; flasks; mugs; cups; water bottles sold empty; portable household containers for storing and transporting food or beverages; carrying cases specially adapted for transporting vacuum bottles, mugs and jars, insulated and non-insulated food jars, flasks, mugs, cups, and water bottles sold empty.

The NHL owns Stanley Cup trademarks related to 

  • precious metal trophies

  • Items made of precious and non-precious metals, namely, commemorative coins, and medals; key chains made of precious metals; jewelry, charms, earrings, medallions, rings, necklaces, tie tacks, pins in the nature of jewelry; chronometric instruments in the nature of docks and clocks.

  • Clothing, namely, bandanas, beach cover-ups, belts, body suits, boxer shorts, caps, cloth bibs, coats, dresses, footwear, ear muffs, gloves, hats, headbands, hosiery, housecoats, jackets, jerseys, leggings, leotards, mittens, nightshirts, pajamas, pants, rain coats, rain wear, robes, scarves, shirts, shorts, skirts, socks, suits, sun visors, suspenders, sweaters, sweatpants, sweatshirts, swimsuits, swim trunks, t-shirts, ties, toques, underwear, vests, warm-up suits and wristbands

  • Annual series of professional ice hockey contests to determine the world champions of professional ice hockey.

In sum, there is likely no trademark infringement here because a consumer is not likely to confuse the Stanley Tumbler cup as coming from the NHL, and vice versa. 

Moreover, the NHL did not object to the Stanley Tumbler cup’s 2014 trademark application. 

Lastly, the NHL has not sued the owners of the Stanley Tumbler for infringement. A trademark owner must enforce their rights and stop infringers or else a court could find that they waived their rights.

This is my educated opinion as an experienced trademark attorney. If you’d like help protecting your brand names and logos, please reach out to me anytime at (754) 800-4481 or by booking a call here.

Though there is likely no trademark infringement between the Stanley Tumbler cup and the NHL’s Stanley cup, there have been prior suits related to the Stanley Cup. Keep reading to find more about this, and other interesting facts.

Stanley Tumbler Cup vs. NHL Stanley Cup - FAQs

Q: Can the NHL sue someone for making a Stanley Cup?

A: Yes, and they have. I found some information regarding a trademark infringement dispute between the NHL Stanley Cup and a company selling beer steins resembling the trophy. Here are a few key points:

  • The NHL filed a complaint alleging trademark infringement against the defendants who were selling beer steins that resembled the Stanley Cup. The NHL claimed rights to the design of their championship trophy.

  • The defendants were accused of using names like "The Stanley Stein" and "The Hockey Cup" to market the infringing products. 

  • The NHL sought to shut down the maker of the beer steins through legal action. There were legal proceedings involved, with the court ultimately finding in favor of the NHL's claims. 

  • The National Hockey League settled the trademark infringement lawsuit with the company that sold the Stanley Cup-shaped beer stein for $300,000. 

Q: What is the Stanley Tumbler Cup? 

A: The Stanley Tumbler Cup refers to a line of insulated drinkware produced by PMI Worldwide under the Stanley brand. These tumblers are designed to keep beverages hot or cold for extended periods and are known for their durability and quality. The Stanley cup brand has been around since 1913.

Q: What is the NHL Stanley Cup? 

A: The NHL Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the team that wins the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs. It is one of the most prestigious trophies in professional sports and has a rich history dating back to 1892 (compared to the Stanley Co.’s brand that emerged in 1913).

Dates are important in a trademark infringement suit because the party to establish priority could be successful.

Q: Are the Stanley Tumbler Cup and the NHL Stanley Cup related? 

A: No, the Stanley Tumbler Cup and the NHL Stanley Cup are not directly related. The Stanley Tumbler Cup is a product line of insulated drinkware, while the NHL Stanley Cup is a championship trophy awarded to the winning NHL team. The name "Stanley" is shared between them, but they serve different purposes.

Q: Why is the Stanley tumbler so popular?

Social media has been instrumental in the Stanley Tumbler's ascent to fame. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok serve as modern-day showcases, hosting a multitude of influencers and everyday users flaunting their favorite beverage containers. Hashtags such as #StanleyTumbler have allowed users to easily find and share content related to the tumbler, creating a virtual community of enthusiasts.

  • Visual Appeal: The tumbler's distinctive design is highly photogenic, making it ideal for sharing on visually driven platforms.

  • User Reviews: Social media users frequently post their personal experiences, adding a layer of trust and recommendation to the product.

  • Influencer Endorsement: When influential figures display their Stanley Tumblers, their followers take note, often leading to increased demand.

  • Availability Updates: Social media has become a go-to source for stock alerts, enabling fans to quickly snag the sought-after item during restocks.

Through these dynamics, social media has not only amplified awareness but also fostered a fashionable status symbol surrounding the Stanley Tumbler.

Q: Can the Stanley Tumbler Cup be used as a replica of the NHL Stanley Cup? 

A: While the Stanley Tumbler Cup shares the name "Stanley," it is not intended to be a replica or substitute for the NHL Stanley Cup. The Stanley Tumbler Cup is primarily designed as a functional insulated drinkware item, whereas the NHL Stanley Cup is a symbol of hockey excellence and accomplishment.

Q: Can I purchase a miniature version of the NHL Stanley Cup? 

A: Yes, there are officially licensed miniature replicas of the NHL Stanley Cup available for purchase. These replicas are typically made of metal or plastic and are smaller versions of the iconic trophy. They serve as collectibles or display items for fans and enthusiasts.

Q: Can I replicate Stanley Co. tumblers?

A: Replicating trademarked products like "Stanley Co." tumblers without proper authorization would likely be considered trademark infringement and is generally not legal. Trademarks provide protection to the original creators or owners of a product, allowing them to maintain their exclusive rights to use and profit from their brand.

This is similar to replica Starbucks tumblers on Etsy. If someone does not have approval, it is trademark infringement. If Starbucks sues, the infringer could have to pay back all the profits they earned plus damages.

Contact Melissa D. G. Ramnauth, Esq. for a consultation! We can help you take the first step in protecting your valuable trademarks and business. You can reach out to us at (754) 800-4481 or by scheduling an appointment on our website.

Image of Trademark Attorney Melissa Ramnauth
Trademark Attorney

Additional References

Read More

Legal Disclaimer

Your use of the content on this site or content from our email list is at your own risk. The use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. MDGR LAW does not guarantee any results from using this content and it is for educational purposes only. It is your responsibility to do your own research, consult, and obtain a professional for your medical, legal, financial, health, or other help that you may need for your situation.

The information on MDGR LAW is “as is” and makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the content provided on this website or on any third-party website which may be accessed by a link from this Web site, including any representations or warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. MDGR LAW will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

All information on this website is accurate and true to the best of MDGR LAW's knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. MDGR LAW is not liable for any damages due to any errors or omissions on the website, delay or denial of any products, failure of performance of any kind, interruption in the operation and your use of the website, website attacks including computer virus, hacking of information, and any other system failures or misuse of information or products.

MDGR LAW does not write sponsored posts or accept free products for review. All thoughts and opinions written by MDGR LAW is our own.

MDGR LAW welcomes comments on blog posts. All comments submitted to us are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies, or positions of this site. We reserve the right to use our own discretion when determining whether or not to remove offensive comments or images.

Affiliate Link Disclaimer

Please note that some of the links included in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. We recommend these products because we believe they are helpful and useful, not because of the commission we might receive. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


bottom of page