Major League Baseball Bullying Amateur Baseball In Trademark Shakedown
from the ip-abuse-is-a-gateway-crime dept
Major League Baseball continues to push the boundaries of what it thinks it has the right to control. For years, it’s been fighting a losing battle over the obviously false idea that it “owns” the stats and game descriptions of all major league games. Earlier this year, it began putting restrictions on how reporters could report on games. Reader Chris alerts us to its latest bullying effort, as it appears MLB still believes that it’s free to control just about anything that even touches Major League Baseball. The Cape Cod Baseball League is basically the premiere showcase of amateur baseball talent each summer. It’s where many of the best college players go to play to show off for scouts from major league teams — but it’s still an amateur event. Major League Baseball has donated about $100,000 to the Cape Cod League each year, but that’s only a small percent of the league’s $1.5 to $2 million operating budget (which itself is small, since much of the league is run by volunteers donating their time).
Yet, somehow, MLB thinks it owns the rights to things in the Cape Cod League and is demanding that the six (out of 10) teams in the league that use the names of Major League teams license the names — including buying all uniforms and merchandise through MLB itself, rather than the local vendors who have always supplied the league. Even worse, those local vendors who normally sold the uniforms and merchandise to the league were big sponsors of the league. Cutting them off may mean lost sponsorship as well. Clearly, MLB now thinks that it has total control over any team that has a name similar to Major League team, despite the fact that no one is going to confuse the Chatham A’s with the Oakland A’s or the Harwich Mariners with the Seattle Mariners. This would appear to be yet another abuse of trademark, and hopefully the Cape Cod League finds a lawyer who can explain to Major League Baseball the moron in a hurry test to prove that there’s no trademark violation. Hell, perhaps the moron in a hurry can be a pinch runner for one of the teams. I hear he’s fast…