Mikhail Mishchenko /
22 October 2014Trademarks

Indian Super League embroiled in Chennai trademark row

A trademark dispute has erupted between an Indian football team and a club in the recently launched Indian Super League (ISL) franchise.

Chennai Football Club, a team in the city, sent a legal notice to Chennaiyin FC, asking it to stop using its name and citing trademark infringement.

But, in a statement on Tuesday (October 21), Abhishek Bachchan, co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, which is in the ISL, said the issue was in the hands of a legal team and would be resolved.

“That’s not something I have the expertise to get into. It’s an issue that has come to us as owners and we have forwarded it to the legal team, and they are sorting it out. That’s not an issue,” he said.

Chennai FC, which plays in the city’s football league senior division, said the team wanted to protect its brand name and “ever rising reputation”.

The team, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to Chennaiyin earlier this month, has filed trademark applications to protect the ‘Chennai FC’ trademark and accompanying artwork.

In the letter, it said that although it could not “assert a monopoly” over the terms ‘Chennai’ and ‘FC’, which are in the public domain, the “unique and coined combination” of ‘Chennai FC’ was worthy of protection.

“Your use of the mark ‘Chennaiyin FC’ without permission amounts to infringement of the equitable and common law right vested with our client who is the admitted prior adopter, continual user and the only person using the said mark ... across the world,” the letter added.

The ISL, officially founded in October last year, features eight teams from around India and has already attracted former players from Europe and England.

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