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MLS, Inter Miami lose key argument in Inter Milan lawsuit

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The myriad twists and turns on David Beckham’s path to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami have gone in a new direction.

Beckham and his partners named their club Inter Miami CF, and a certain Serie A giant was not impressed.

Inter Milan is suing MLS for trademark infringement, claiming that the term “Inter” is synonymous with its club and no one else.

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That logic is pretty sound, and Monday was a good day for that lawsuit.

Inter Miami lost a key battle in the fight to keep its name, according to Law.com, which says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dismissed one of the MLS club’s two arguments. Law.com says that MLS will appeal the decision, and likely lose.

Article writer David Winker says that Inter Milan had to “overcome a heavy burden” to prevail in this argument against “likely confusion”, and the USPTO found that the Italian club did just that. From Law.com:

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.

That’s a tough argument, especially including a three-year-old NPSL side (Inter Nashville) and a youth club (Inter Atlanta FC).

The other argument is that Inter is “merely descriptive.” The article claims that adjectives like “spicy” mustard and “refreshing” iced tea cannot be trademarked, and Inter says this is nothing like that.

In effect, it will come down to Inter Milan convincing the USPTO that consumers think of Inter Milan when they hear the term Inter.

We’re not lawyers, so we’ll leave that to them, but it would not be a surprise to see MLS lose the suit and Inter Miami change its name. And Winker says the decision could come around the end of 2020.

Can you imagine? With all the fan fare, the jersey launch, and the tickets sales, a club would have to change its name within a season of play?

Don’t get me wrong: I think the name Inter Miami is a rough choice. But if both clubs met in the Club World Cup, would anyone confuse the two? To be sure, all references to Inter would be laid upon the Italian side and that’s the point of the lawsuit, but…

Wow.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

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It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

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The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

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A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf