MLB sends letter to maternity shop over name

BY foxsports • October 9, 2011

The word "Angel" has triggered a bizarre legal battle between a tiny northern Sydney maternity shop and the Los Angeles Angels.

Businesswoman Olivia Zhao, 41, registered the name Angel.M with the Australian Trade Marks Office in 2008 and Angel Maternity -- the name of her shop -- in September 2010.

But Major League Baseball sent her a legal letter claiming the name infringed the trademark of the Angels.

"I don't know why a baseball team from America would care about a small maternity wear company in Sydney," mother-of-two Zhao told The (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph.

"They sent 20 to 30 pages in legal letters ... I wasn't happy because I had to take the time to read them all."

Even though the Australian Trade Marks Office rejected the MLB claim over the name Angel.M at a dispute hearing in August, the saga could continue this year when it looks at the use of the name and logo of Angel Maternity.

At the August hearing, MLB's Australian lawyer Michelle Gorton argued that Zhao had infringed her client's trademark because the league sold similar clothing with Los Angeles Angels branding on its website, which Australians could access.

The goods included clothing for newborns and infants as well as plus-sized clothing, which Gorton told the tribunal "may also be used by women who are pregnant as maternity wear."

Hearing officer Michael Kirov dismissed MLB's challenge and said people buying maternity wear were not likely to confuse Zhao's clothing with merchandise sold by a baseball team.

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