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Cleveland Baseball Will Share ‘Guardians’ Name With Roller Derby Team

Christopher M. Pardo, a lawyer for the roller derby organization and the team itself, declined to comment further on the settlement on Tuesday.

In the lawsuit, the roller derby team, which is based in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio, said it was “inconceivable” that a baseball franchise worth more than $1 billion would not have performed a Google search for the name Cleveland Guardians. If it did, the lawsuit said, it would have found the website for the roller derby team, which operates as a nonprofit organization.

“Economic might, however, does not make legal right,” the lawsuit said. “There cannot be two ‘Cleveland Guardians’ teams in Cleveland, and, to be blunt, plaintiff was here first.”

The lawsuit accused the baseball team of surreptitiously filing a trademark application in April for the Cleveland Guardians name in Mauritius, a small East African island nation, to hide the paperwork.

In June, the lawsuit said, the owner of the roller derby team was presented with a “nominal” offer by the baseball franchise after he said that he would consider selling the naming rights and the domain name for ClevelandGuardians.com. The baseball team never responded to his counteroffer, according to the lawsuit.

At the time that lawsuit was filed, the baseball team said in a statement: “We believe there is no conflict between the parties and their ability to operate in their respective business areas.”

Under mounting pressure from Native Americans and other groups, Cleveland’s baseball team said last year that it would abandon the name that it had used for more than a century. The killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last year became a catalyst for sweeping changes to the names and symbols used by institutions, including that of Washington’s National Football League team.

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