Camden Yards' claimant finally gets notice of state suit

November 19, 1991|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Evening Sun Staff

Nearly two months after filing suit against the Arnold T-shirt vendor who claims to own the trademark rights to "Camden Yards," the state has finally served the papers and can begin court proceedings.

The state accuses Roy Becker of eluding service for the past two months. But Becker, who occasionally works as a process server himself, says he never hid.

"Nobody ever showed up at the door," he says. Becker uses his parents' address in Arnold.

Last week a private process server answered one of Becker's ads and inquired about buying T-shirts. The two met at a restaurant in Ellicott City, where the papers were served, Becker says.

"It certainly is in the best interests of the state to get on with this," says Jefrey S. Weingrow, an attorney representing the Maryland Stadium Authority.

Becker, 28, came into prominence after filing on July 1 for federal protection of the trademark Camden Yards. At the time, he was using the name on T-shirts he sold outside Memorial Stadium.

Since then, the Baltimore Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority decided to name the new downtown baseball stadium Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

They don't want to share the rights to the name, which could be worth millions of dollars in concession sales. If Becker is granted the rights, he could conceivably control the sale of T-shirts and other goods bearing the name of the stadium.

The authority filed suit against Becker in U.S. District Court in September, contending that the state held the rights because it has used the name informally for years.

The state seeks to bar Becker from selling the shirts or otherwise using the name.

Becker says he hopes to fight the case in court, but is concerned about paying the legal costs. In addition to selling T-shirts, he holds a number of part-time jobs, including bail bondsman and tug-boat crew member.

"I definitely believe I'm in the right," he says.

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