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The Toledo Mud Hens are facing off in court with a coffee company named after the same small swamp bird. The minor league team filed a trademark infringement lawsuit last week against Mudhen Espresso Inc., saying the company’s name and logo could confuse both coffee consumers and baseball fans, The Blade and the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. Kerby Sides, founder and president of the two-year-old coffee company, called the Toledo team’s claims baseless and said consumers aren’t likely to confuse the team and his drive-through coffee kiosks that pepper northern Michigan. “The Toledo Mud Hens do not own the name to the bird, just like the St. Louis Cardinals don’t own the cardinal and the Detroit Tigers don’t own the tiger,” Sides said. “Consumers are smarter than that.” The similarities between the two logos could imply sponsorship, said the team’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Toledo. The Gaylord, Mich.-based company’s logo shows a mud hen lounging in a cup of coffee. The team’s logo pictures the bird at bat. The team chose its name in 1896 because of the abundance of the birds in a marsh near its former ballpark. The Mud Hens are asking that the coffee company surrender the name and remove all materials with the Mudhen brand. The lawsuit also calls for the company to account for its profits and pay the team’s court costs. A message seeking comment was left with a team spokesman Friday. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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