Trade Mark Infringement and Anti-Trust


Part I.
Canarsie, Brooklyn is a neighborhood located in the southeast portion of Brooklyn, New York. Named after the Canarsee tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the area before the Dutch settlement of the area in the 1600s. Located on 86th Street, Our Lady of the Red Rose Catholic Church, a small Roman Catholic church, runs a little league baseball league. While many of the participants of the league are students of Our Lady of the Red Rose Catholic School, other youth participants of the little league do not attend the school. David is a father of one of the participants of the league. Before the start of the most recent season, David volunteered to serve as a coach for one of the teams. Rather than creating a unique logo and uniform for his team, he decided that it would be a good idea to name the team he coached the “Canarsie Indians.” David hastily decided to use the logo and the home uniforms used by the Cleveland Indians that featured the word “Indians” printed on the chest of the shirt and a logo on the baseball cap featuring a caricature of a Native American. Most of the youth players aged between ten and twelve years old expressed their pleasure at the choice of the uniforms and caps. However, one of the parents, who practices law in Manhattan, took offense at the choice of uniforms and caps and took it upon himself to write the Cleveland Indians, the local newspaper, and to a local law firm that practices discrimination law with pictures of the children in the uniforms and wearing caps. Upon receipt of these letters, the school receives a cease and desist letter from the Cleveland Indians, alleging that the use of the team’s logo and uniforms without prior approval constituted trademark infringement. After that, a local attorney, who practices discrimination law, writes the school a letter stating that the use of the logo on the cap featuring a caricature of a Native American highly offended him, and he demands that school stop using the logo immediately. Upon receiving these letters, the principal of Our Lady of the Red Rose Catholic asks David to resign as a volunteer coach.

Discuss the legal issues raised by this fact pattern. Specifically, focus on any trademark infringement claim that the Cleveland Indians may have against David and the school. Also, explore any defenses that the school and David may raise in their defense.

Part II.

The practices of a professional sports league have experienced various challenges to the that have been the subject of anti-trust litigation. Provide an example of a practice of a professional sports league that has been challenged using the anti-trust laws.