As the Chicago Cubs prepare for their postseason battle, the team and Major League Baseball also are joining forces in the fight over fans’ dollars.
The Cubs and Major League Baseball filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against several vendors hawking allegedly counterfeit and trademark-infringing merchandise.
“Defendants are a group of vendors who are deliberately free riding on the success of the Cubs and trading — without a license or permission — on the substantial goodwill associated with the Cubs’ trademarks and trade dress,” the team and the league claimed in the lawsuit, alleging the vendors “flooded Wrigleyville and the Internet with all manner of unlicensed products.”
The lawsuit named Wrigley-area vendors Toussiant Stevens, Steve Russell, Richard Jekel, Edward Jefferson, Ron Howard, Pete Gadberry, Harry Gibson and up to 30 more unidentified vendors, including Chi Apparel, as allegedly selling trademark-infringing merchandise near Wrigley Field or online. The vendors could not immediately be reached for comment.
Online marketplaces like Etsy, CafePress and Zazzle have made it even easier for individuals and small vendors to profit on die-hard and bandwagon fans’ desire to wear their loyalty on their sleeves without setting foot near the ballpark. But according to the lawsuit, all of the vendors being sued sell their T-shirts and merchandise near Wrigley Field on game days.