Likelihood of Confusion? Cleveland Baseball Team Sued for Use of Guardians Nickname

A complaint filed in the Northern District of Ohio challenges the former Cleveland Indians from using their new chosen name of Cleveland Guardians.

The Indians selected the name Guardians from over 1,000 options after receiving input from fans, front office members, community leaders, and others. The name was inspired by the stone sculptures “Guardians of Transportation” on the Hope Memorial Bridge right outside the baseball stadium.

However, the name Cleveland Guardians is already in use by a local roller derby team. According to an article on Justia, the roller derby team “alleges that the MLB team was aware of the conflict between team names before making the change. They also argue that the identical names already have caused confusion among members of the public. For example, the website of the roller derby team allegedly experienced a massive increase in traffic after the announcement of the name change, which caused it to crash and continues to affect its speed and responsiveness.” The roller derby team wants the court to grant an injunction against the team formerly known as the Indians to prevent their use of the name Guardians.