David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF may have to change its name.
Italian giant Inter Milan is suing the recently formed MLS club for trademark infringement, claiming the term “Inter” is synonymous with itself and nobody else, according to NBC Sports.
The Serie A side, full name FC Internazionale Milano, filed a trademark application in 2014 to obtain exclusive rights to the term in the United States, Law.com says.
And on Monday it won a key battle in the first stages of its case against Miami, as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dismissed one of the American club’s two arguments.
The report from Miami attorney David Winker said: “The USPTO found that MLS’ claim that there are a number of clubs around the world that use Inter in their name SC Internacional of Porto Alegre, Brazil, Inter Nashville FC, Inter Atlanta FC, FC Inter Turku (Finland), NK Inter Zapresic (Croatia), Inter Leipzig (Germany) and Inter de Grand-Goave (Haiti) did not meet its burden to show that MLS has valid proprietary, or ownership, right in the name, Inter.”
Miami’s second argument is that the term “Inter” is “merely descriptive” and hence cannot be properly registered.
Winker however believes the club faces an “uphill battle” as it will have to try and prove to the USPTO that consumers do not think of Inter Milan when they hear “Inter.”
Fortunately for Beckham, who bought the expansion team for $25 million in 2014, a decision is unlikely to be made until the end of 2020, says Winker, meaning it will probably play its first full MLS season under its current moniker.