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Yellow Jackets aim to take the Buzz out of Salt Lake

What's in a name?

Plenty, if you own the federally registered trademark.Lawyers representing Georgia Tech have contacted Major League Baseball and Salt Lake Buzz owner Joe Buzas concerning the Triple-A team's nickname. "Buzz," it turns out, is the name of Georgia Tech's yellow jacket mascot. And rights to the moniker and its likeness have been held by the Atlanta-based university for 16 years. The school sells merchandise with "Buzz" on it.

The baseball franchise, however, began using the name three years ago when Buzas moved the Portland Beavers to Salt Lake City's new Franklin Quest Field. Buzas maintains "Buzz" was approved for use by baseball's national association, which "is supposed to be the ones looking out for us."

Legal battle lines are not being drawn, but Buzas is hopeful a settlement can be reached.

"I want to try to keep the name, if it's possible. It has worked out well for us," said Buzas. "We'll try to work it out, resolve it, settle it somehow."

Georgia Tech pursued the matter after Salt Lake Buzz merchandise, which Buzas said is the second-highest seller in minor league baseball, showed up at the annual sporting goods manufacturers' supershow in Atlanta.

Tammy Tuley, licensing director for Georgia Tech, said concerns have been raised by school officials and alumni, some of whom learned of the name conflict while passing through Salt Lake City. "Buzz," "Yellow Jackets," and "Ramblin' Wreck" are registered to the university.

"It's still very early in the process," said Tuley, who declined to speculate if a compromise with Buzas can be reached. "We are just getting initial responses back."

Buzas, meanwhile, may offer a share of his team's national merchandise sales to settle the matter.

"We're trying to work out a deal," he said.

If not, he's hoping Georgia Tech officials will agree to a "one-year grace period." In that time, Buzas would rename his team, possibly with a contest.

"It may turn out to be a plus for us," he said. "Who knows?"

Though mindful of the community's tradition of having its professional sports team nicknames end with double-Z's - Jazz (NBA), Grizz (IHL) and Starzz (WNBA) - Buzas said he still holds rights to one nickname.

How does Salt Lake Beavers, er, Beaverzz, sound?