Monday, December 28, 2009

Major League Soccer sues Black & Decker

Major League Soccer has filed suit against Black & Decker Corp. saying an “ambush marketing” campaign by its DeWalt power tools division aimed at Hispanic soccer fans violated the league’s trademarks and falsely advertised an official connection by the tool maker to the league.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York by MLS and Soccer United Marketing, its licensing subsidiary, says DeWalt tried to confuse soccer fans into thinking it was a league sponsor.

It alleges DeWalt did this by setting up booths, without authorization, to advertise its products at MLS-sponsored matches featuring the Mexican national soccer team in San Diego, Los Angeles and Houston in 2008 and 2009. The suit also says DeWalt used MLS logos in promotional flyers and gave away tickets to Mexican national team exhibition matches to purchasers of its tools, all in violation of MLS’ exclusive power tools sponsorship deal with Makita, a DeWalt competitor.

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