David Beckham is locked in a legal battle with Inter Milan over the naming of his MLS franchise.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star intends launch his US outfit next year under the title of ‘Inter Miami’.
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The Italian club – whose full official name is FC Internazionale Milano – filed a US Patent and Trademark application in 2014 in a bid to make the word ‘Inter’ its exclusive brand.
That would prevent Beckham’s Miami club using the title.
Now, however, Major League Soccer has filed opposition to Inter Milan’s claim .
It says the word ‘Inter’ is simply an abbreviation of ‘ internacional ‘ and “merely descriptive of the applicant and its goods and services”.
And it points out ‘Inter’ is “commonly used to describe soccer teams” listing several clubs who already use the name, including 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).
The MLS notice adds: “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 .”
Beckham, 43, who twice had loan spells with Inter Milan’s rivals AC Milan, is a co-owner of the MLS franchise, which he has been trying to get off the ground since 2014.
Another co-owner Jorge Mas told the Miami Herald : “The issues raised are a testament to our city and our team that we are already recognised as a global brand before kicking off.”
The US Patent and Trademark Office is expected to rule on the Inter issue by 4 May.
Beckham played for MLS side LA Galaxy between 2007 and 2012 before ending his playing career with a short spell at Paris Saint-Germain.