Internazionale have won a key battle in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Major League Soccer, claiming the term ‘Inter’ is synonymous with the Serie A club, which also goes by Inter Milan.
Inter Miami CF, the new MLS club owned by David Beckham set to make their debut next month, suffered a setback in the first round of the proceedings when the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dismissed one of the team’s two arguments.
Miami attorney David Winker, said the Italian club appears to have overcome the significant legal threshold of “likely confusion”, adding he believes the ruling “will result in Miami having to change its name”.
The Miami New Times reported Internazionale submitted a trademark application to the USPTO in 2014 to make ‘Inter’ and exclusive brand in the United States, barring other clubs from marketing themselves with the same shorthand, while Inter Miami CF’s subsequent application in 2018 has been suspended.
MLS’s outlined a two-pronged argument in a notice of opposition filed last year against Internazionale’s application: that ‘Inter’ is a widely used shorthand in soccer and that a trademark on the term will cause a “likelihood of confusion” among the various teams that already use it. But last month, the patent office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed the “likelihood of confusion” claim and said the league didn’t meet those requirements, Winker wrote.