USL Expansion Team Tampa Bay Rowdies Embroiled in Trademark Controversy.

DALLAS, April 29, 2009 -- United Soccer League expansion team the Tampa Bay Rowdies have been accused of trademark infringement and perjury before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in a federal lawsuit filed today.

The suit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas by the Texas company Classic Ink, Inc. claims to the rightful owner of the trademark TAMP BAY ROWDIES in connection with clothing items.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies were originally a professional soccer team that was a part of the now defunct North American Soccer League from 1975 to 1993.

In the complaint, Classic Ink claims it began its existence as C.S. Anderson Enterprises, Inc. on September 27, 2001 with the objective of selling sports apparel depicting the names and logos of classic sports teams. Records maintained by the USPTO indicate C.S. Anderson Enterprises, Inc. registered the mark TAMPA BAY ROWDIES in connection with clothing items on August 26, 2003 as Registration Number 2755164.

According to the pleading filed by Classic Ink, the two shareholders of C.S. Anderson Enterprises, Inc. Chris Anderson and Mark Scott sold all their shares in the business in addition to resigning their positions with the company on December 22, 2005.

The new owners of C.S. Anderson Enterprises, Inc. changed the name of the company to Classic Ink, Inc. on March 3, 2006 but did not inform the USPTO of the corporate name change.

An announcement was made on June 18, 2008 that the United Soccer League would be expanding to include a Tampa Bay-based team to be called the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The team would be owned by the named defendants Citrus Sports Group, a Delaware limited liability company, and Massachuset's Citrus Ventures.

Chris Anderson is accused of entering into an agreement on May 7, 2008 whereby he transferred ownership of Registration 2755164 to Citrus Sports Group and Citrus Ventures. This alleged transfer of ownership was filed with the USPTO.

The Citrus Sports Group, LLC filed a new application with the USPTO for the mark TAMPA BAY ROWDIES on May 13, 2009 which covered uses in connection with clothing items. In the application, Citrus Sports Group, LLC claimed ownership of Registration Number 2755164. Classic Ink initiated an opposition proceeding to prevent the new application from receiving registered status. Citrus Sports Group LLC filed yet another registration application for the mark TAMPA BAY ROWDIES on September 29, 2008 in connection clothing.

The USPTO application to register a trademark requires the applicant to swear to best of their knowledge that no other person or entity has the right to use the proposed mark in commerce, either in an identical form or "in such near resemblance thereto as to be likely when used on or in connection with the goods/services of such other person, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive."

Classic Ink asserts that Citrus Sports Group, LLC committed perjury by making the aforementioned representation when a simple search of Texas corporate records would have revealed Chris Anderson had no right to transfer ownership of Registration 2755164.

Making a false statement to a federal agency is punishable by fines and imprisonment up tp five years under 18 U.S.C. §1001.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Team IP Sports, LLC and Team IP Holdings, LLC. Collectively the defendants are accused of selling clothing items bearing the TAMPA BAY ROWDYS trademark.

In addition to a claim for trademark infringement, the complaint also has claims based on false designation of origin, tortious interference, and unfair competition.

If Classic Ink is successful in proving infringement the federally registered trademark, they could recover defendants' profits and any damages sustained by the plaintiff. In assessing damages the court may enter judgment for any sum above the amount found as actual damages, up to three times. When a court finds a defendant intentionally counterfeited a registered trademark, the court must, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances, enter judgment for three times such profits or damages, whichever is greater, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee unless the Plaintiff elects for statutory damages up to $1,000,000 per counterfeit mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale, or distributed.

Disclaimer & Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
© 2007 Brandwise Law Firm, P.C.