4 April 2019Trademarks

MLS battles Inter Milan over Beckham team name

Inter Milan are embroiled in a trademark dispute with  Major League Soccer (MLS) over the name of David Beckham’s new football club  Inter Miami.

Beckham founded Club Internacional de Futból Miami, or Inter Miami, last year. Miami are set to compete in MLS from the 2020 season onwards.

Italian club Internazionale Milano, among the most successful in Italian and European football, filed a US application for the ‘Inter’ mark in 2014 in various classes covering soccer-related entertainment and merchandise.

MLS is now opposing the ‘Inter’ mark, claiming that the term is an abbreviation of “international” and is a common naming convention used by football clubs around the world.

According to the notice of opposition, filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on March 25, MLS intends to file a US trademark application for ‘Inter Miami CF’, which the league expects will be opposed by Inter Milan.

Last September, MLS also filed a trademark application for ‘Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami MMXX’ and the club logo.

MLS claimed that as ‘Inter’ is used by many football clubs in countries such as the US, Germany, Angola, Haiti and Surinam, that consumers do not associate the term with one team.

Examining attorneys have cited Inter Milan’s mark as grounds for likelihood of confusion in previous ‘Inter Miami’ applications, MLS said.

The Italian club was founded in 1908 and is commonly referred to as Inter or Inter Milan, both in Italy and around the world.

WIPR has contacted representatives of Inter Milan and MLS for comment.

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11 February 2020   Italian football club Inter Milan are looking to hold on to the opening victory they won last month in their trademark dispute with the US’ Major League Soccer over the name of David Beckham’s new team.