Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC v. Weier, et al., 14-cv-05507, Northern District of Illinois
|Photograph of Billy the Cub, from Exhibit D of the Complaint|
|Clark, the Cubs official mascot introduced in 2014|
Although the owner of the costumes has reportedly been rebuffed by the Cubs in his efforts to become the sanctioned mascot and has been the subject of cease and desist requests, the Billy the Cub costumers are still seen seeking tips around the neighborhood on game days. The Cubs have finally had enough, however, and it was likely this video showing the man inside the costume getting in a fistfight that was the tipping point in the Cubs initiating legal action.
The Lanham Act states in pertinent part:
(a) (1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services,…uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—
(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation,
connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin,
sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another
shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be
damaged by such act. §43 (15 U.S.C. §1125).
It appears that the Cubs are on good legal footing here and at the very least, the threat of having to reimburse the Cubs for their legal fees would seem to be a pretty strong incentive for the defendants to discontinue their Billy the Cub operations, even if they have insurance coverage that will provide them with a defense.
It will be interesting to see if they have as much fight in them in the defense of this lawsuit as was seen at the bar.