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A company that says it owns the trademark rights to the name Washington Nationals baseball club answered a lawsuit brought by Major League Baseball with countercharges of its own Wednesday. Bygone Sports LLC said it filed papers in U.S. District Court in Manhattan challenging claims brought last month by Major League Baseball Properties Inc. and Baseball Expos L.P. The baseball entities had asked the court to declare that the trademark does not belong to the company because its sole purpose in filing for a trademark was to capitalize on the naming of the new baseball team, formerly the Montreal Expos. Bygone Sports asked the court to block the retailing arm of Major League Baseball from using the Washington Nationals trademark in any way that interferes with the use of it by Bygone. It also sought unspecified damages and an accounting of all sales and profits obtained by Major League Baseball by using the name. Bygone Sports co-founder Michael Bergman said in a release that Major League Baseball failed to check to see if anyone else had rights to the nostalgic sports name before naming the new team. He said MLB also could have challenged Bygone Sports’ September 2002 trademark application but failed to do so. “We believe that the lawsuit filed against us is no more than an effort by Major League Baseball Properties and Baseball Expos to usurp our legitimate trademark rights, while seeking to avoid the consequences of their failure to do their homework,” he said. The MLB lawsuit said Bygone Sports tried to “turn a quick, undeserved profit” by seeking trademark registration rights to the club’s name even though it has been used for decades to refer to Washington teams. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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