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The name game: David Beckham's Inter Miami could be forced into name change after legal wrangle with Inter Milan

The name game: David Beckham's Inter Miami could be forced into name change after legal wrangle with Inter Milan
Ahead of their opening MLS game next month, David Beckham's new MLS franchise Inter Miami has run into a last-minute obstacle, with Serie A side Internazionale winning a key legal battle in an ongoing trademark infringement suit.

The squabble stems from Inter Milan's position that word 'Inter' is synonymous with their team, and would therefore confuse people into thinking that the two teams are formally linked. 

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It means that Inter Miami, who were formed by ex-England skipper Beckham two years ago, could be forced into changing their name just weeks out from their inaugural MLS game against LA Galaxy on March 1.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has already thrown out one of the two arguments put forth by the MLS team.

Miami attorney David Winker told Law.com that he expects the final ruling to legally compel Beckham to change the team's name. 

"The USPTO found that MLS’ claim that there are a number of clubs around the world that use Inter in their name – 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) — did not meet its burden to show that MLS has valid proprietary, or ownership, right in the name, Inter," Winkler said.

Inter Milan filed a trademark application with the USPTO in 2014, in an effort to exclusively own the 'Inter' name in the United States. The filing continued to 2018 before the Italian club suspended the application.

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Beckham's introduction of his new MLS franchise has been anything but plain sailing to this point. In addition to the legal issues surrounding the team's name, the construction site of their home stadium was found to have unsafe levels of arsenic after an environmental analysis last year.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said that the cleanup of the site could potentially cost as much as $50 million.