Even though the new baseball stadium under construction in downtown Baltimore has yet to be named, the Maryland Stadium Authority filed suit yesterday in Baltimore federal court to prevent a 28-year-old Arnold man from selling T-shirts emblazoned with the name "Camden Yards."
The suit alleges that Roy G. Becker, who has enjoyed a brisk business selling his T-shirts, is infringing on the Stadium Authority's trademark on the name "Camden Yards," which the state agency says it has used since 1989.
"The Maryland Stadium Authority is the owner of the Camden Yards trademark because it has used the Camden Yards trademark in association with the sports complex it's constructing," said Jeffrey S. Weingrow, an attorney with the firm of Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger and Hollander, which is representing the state.
In addition, Mr. Weingrow said, the Stadium Authority has used the name in newsletters, annual reports and goods sold by the agency. The name, the suit alleges, is "an asset of substantial value" and "has become uniquely associated with the complex."
The state is asking the court to order Mr. Becker to stop selling his T-shirts, account for all of his earnings and then pay the Stadium Authority damages equal to three times all profits he has earned.
Gary Maslan, Mr. Becker's attorney, did not return repeated phone calls last night.
While the state claims to have rights to the Camden Yards name, Mr. Becker has taken action to secure rights to the name.
In July, Mr. Becker applied for federal trademark rights for the name "Camden Yards."
He has also obtained registered trade names with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that include Camden Yard Sports Stadium, Camden Yards Baseball Stadium, Camden Yards Memorial Stadium II, Camden Yards News Press, Camden Yards Paper Products, Camden Yards Park, Camden Yards Property and Camden Yards Stadium.
He has registered Oriole Memorial Stadium II, Oriole Park and Babe Ruth Stadium as well.
Mr. Weingrow dismissed Mr. Becker's efforts to lay claim to the names.
"Just because you have applied for a trademark, that doesn't give you the right to use it," he said. "It is like applying for a driver's license. You can't drive until you have the license."