Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; A Cleveland Indians fan holds up the Indians flag during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: The Indians won 6-0. Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Cleveland team sued by roller derby team over Guardians name change

Oct 27 (Reuters) – Main League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, which is altering its name to the Guardians, was sued for trademark infringement on Wednesday by an area roller derby team additionally named the Guardians.

The lawsuit was filed three months after the Indians introduced it could change its name following the 2021 season in response to years of strain from Native American teams and human rights activists that considered the Indians name used since 1915 as racist and degrading.

“Two sports teams in the same city cannot have identical names,” the roller derby team’s attorneys stated within the grievance filed in Cleveland federal court docket.

“There cannot be two ‘Cleveland Guardians’ teams in Cleveland, and, to be blunt, plaintiff was here first.”

The scholar roller derby team stated it has used the Guardians name since 2013, and registered it with Ohio in 2017.

It desires an injunction and damages for the alleged confusion and lack of goodwill.

Indians spokesman Bart Swain stated in an e mail that the team stays “confident in our position to become the Guardians. We believe there is no conflict between the parties and their ability to operate in their respective business areas.”

There have been events when groups in the identical metropolis shared names, even on the skilled degree.

For instance, New York had baseball and soccer groups named the Giants from 1925 to 1957, whereas St. Louis had groups in these sports activities named the Cardinals from 1960 to 1987.

Trademark attorneys stated Wednesday’s lawsuit was not frivolous however would seemingly be settled, with the Indians paying cash to the roller derby team to make use of the Guardians name.

“There is no blanket rule in trademark law that two teams, even in professional sports, cannot have the same name,” stated Michael Hobbs, a associate at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders.

Andrew Skale, a associate on the Mintz legislation agency, stated that for the Indians, “an advisable move would be to buy the roller derby team’s name from them.”

Talks to resolve the dispute broke down on Tuesday.

“As a nonprofit organization that loves sports and the city of Cleveland, we are saddened that the Indians have forced us into having to protect the name we have used here for years,” roller derby team proprietor Gary Sweatt stated in an announcement.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by Steve Orlofsky and Howard Goller

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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