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26 September 2016Trademarks

Chicago Cubs take legal action to stop flood of fakes

Baseball team the Chicago Cubs have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in a bid to stop fake merchandise flooding the market.

In the suit, filed on September 22 at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, the team claimed that a number of vendors have “flooded” Wrigleyville in Chicago and the internet with unlicensed products.

The Chicago Cubs and the Major League Baseball organisation filed the suit against Toussiant Stevens, Steve Russell, Richard Jekel, Edward Jefferson, Ron Howard, Pete Gadberry, Harry Gibson, Offcenter Marketing and Does 1-30.

The suit claimed that the unlicensed products “brazenly” used the Cubs’ trademarks and trade dress to “dupe unwitting fans and the public into purchasing defendants’ knock-off products”.

It added that the defendants were “deliberately free riding on the success of the Cubs”.

The Cubs own a number of trademarks, including the “famous primary logo” and the red “C”, which appears on all players’ caps, various Cubs designs, and the ‘Cubs’ word mark, among others.

“In addition, the Cubs own substantial trade dress rights in the combination of their iconic blue-and-red colour scheme and other indicia associated with the Cubs,” said the suit.

At least one of the defendants has previously been cited by the Cook County State Attorney’s Office for criminal counterfeiting, according to the team.

“Nevertheless, their sale of infringing and counterfeit products has not only continued, but it recently has increased in an effort to capitalise (unlawfully) on the on-field success of the Cubs.”

The suit included a number of photos of the defendants selling the allegedly infringing items, which include t-shirts, hats and flags.

The Cubs are seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop the defendants from continuing their “unlawful campaign of intentional infringement”.

Yesterday, September 25, the Cubs secured a 3-1 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

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