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Inter Milan Starts Trademark Dispute Against New MLS Team Inter Miami CF

David Beckham's Major League Soccer team Inter Miami is engaged in a trademark dispute with Italian club Inter Milan over the word "Inter." Inter Miami CF is scheduled to begin playing in MLS March 2020,

Internazionale Says Inter Miami CF Infringes Their U.S. Patent and Trademark Application

Inter Milan is taking up a trademark case with the Inter Miami soccer team. Inter Milan contends that the use of the word “Inter” infringes on a trademark application it filed in the United States.

Inter Milan, officially known as FC Internazionale Milano S.p.A, filed a U.S. Patent and Trademark application in 2014 to make the abbreviated version of its name — "Inter" — an exclusive brand, which would prevent Inter Miami from marketing itself as "Inter." The full name of the Miami team is Club Internacional de Futbol Miami.

Major League Soccer on March 25, 2019, filed an opposition to Inter Milan’s claim that it should have exclusive rights to "Inter."

The MLS opposition notice states that the word "Inter" is "merely descriptive of applicant and its goods and services," that the word is short for "internacional," which translates to "international" and that the phrase "Inter" is "commonly used to describe soccer teams.

MLS opposition notice mentions several examples of football clubs that use the name "Inter," including S.C. Internacional of Porto Alegre, Brazil, which goes by the nickname "Inter." Others are Inter Nashville FC, Inter Atlanta FC, FC Inter Turku (Finland), NK Inter Zapresic (Croatia), Inter Leipzig (Germany), and Inter de Grand-Goave (Haiti).

The opposition notice goes on to say: "Because of the widespread use of the term Inter in soccer, the relevant consumers do not associate the term Inter with one soccer team; Inter by itself is not a source indicator in connection with goods and services associated with soccer.

"No one soccer team can claim exclusive rights to the term Inter, therefore Milan has no exclusive rights to the term Inter... As a result, Milan is not entitled to register the designation Inter for the goods and services set forth by the Inter application."

Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas told the Miami Herald: "The issues raised are a testament to our city and our team that we are already recognized as a global brand before kicking off."

A response from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is expected by May 4.

Do you think Inter Milan's trademark dispute is justified? Share your thoughts in the comments below.