CFL Colts take case to Indy

May 12, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

The next round of Jim Speros' legal battle with the NFL over trademark rights to the Baltimore Colts name will be fought in Indianapolis.

Attorneys for Speros, owner of the Baltimore CFL Colts, will argue Monday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis that the Indiana court has no jurisdiction to hear the merits of the trademark infringement debate.

The jurisdictional issue was raised when the NFL filed a civil suit in Indianapolis on April 29 seeking to block the Canadian Football League team's use of the name Colts. The NFL also wants unspecified damages. At that time, the NFL obtained an expedited discovery order calling for depositions.

Speros' attorneys are attempting to get the case tried in Baltimore, where Speros first filed for declaratory judgment in U.S. District Court on March 1.

"My stance has not changed. I feel stronger than ever about what we're doing," Speros said. "The Colts left here 10 years ago, and when they left, they abandoned the name, they abandoned the city. I don't see how they can claim anything."

George Pappas of Venable, Baetjer and Howard, the firm that represents Speros, filed Friday to vacate the Indianapolis order. In his arguments, Pappas charged that the NFL created whatever emergency situation now exists by failing to respond promptly in February when it first learned the Baltimore team would use the name CFL Colts.

He cited the Feb. 8 letter sent to Speros by then-NFL Properties president John Flood and the league's court action nearly three months later.

Pappas also argued that Indiana federal court should not hear the merits of the case for at least three reasons: no one associated with the CFL Colts does any business in Indiana; the CFL Colts consider the venue improper; and there is a previously existing suit in Baltimore.

NOTES: Speros yesterday announced a one-year deal to hold preseason training camp at Towson State. "It really excites us to be part of the bold effort . . . to bring pro football back to Baltimore," said Towson president Hoke L. Smith. Thom Ruby and Sally Allison of Towson's events and conference services, who negotiated the contract, said the critical considerations were location and that Towson has a football program in place, with appropriate equipment and facilities . . . . Speros is attempting to track down a Diamond Vision scoreboard last used at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and would consider it for use at Memorial Stadium.

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