Speros loses bid to delay court fight

June 17, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

One day before the CFL Colts play their first game ever, club owner Jim Speros and his legal counsel will be in federal court in Indianapolis "fighting for our lives," he said.

Or at least fighting for his team's identity.

U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney yesterday denied a motion by Speros' attorneys for a delay in a preliminary injunction hearing in the trademark rights case over use of the name Colts.

That means the hearing will go on as scheduled next Thursday. On Friday night, the Colts play their exhibition opener in Shreveport, La., against the expansion Pirates.

Should McKinney rule in favor of the NFL, Speros would be unable to use CFL Colts, pending the outcome of a full trial in Indianapolis.

"We've built a very strong case on why the name belongs in Baltimore," said Speros. "There is no turning back. I think we have the ammunition."

Yesterday's development was the latest in a series of legal maneuvers triggered by Speros' selection of the CFL Colts' name on March 1. At the same time, he filed for declaratory judgment in Maryland federal court seeking the right to use it.

On April 29, the NFL, NFL Properties and the Indianapolis Colts responded with a civil suit in Indianapolis. That suit seeks to block Speros from using the name, as well as unspecified damages for alleged trademark violations.

Last week, McKinney ruled he had jurisdiction to hear the case, citing three Colts' games that will be aired on ESPN2 in Indiana, and set the June 23 hearing date.

Speros' law firm of Venable, Baetjer and Howard then sought a 15-day extension for discovery.

"I still feel the case should be heard in Maryland," Speros said.

It is possible, he said, that two lawsuits on the trademark issue could run concurrently in Baltimore and Indianapolis.

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