Arena Football League Says Team's Ex-Owner Played a Nasty Trick
CHICAGO (CN) - The disgruntled former owner of the Orlando Predators, an arena football team, redirected the team's website to the Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators website when his team was kicked out of the league, the football league claims in court.
Arena Football One sued Orlando Predators Sports Group (OPSG), and former team owner David Pearsall, in Cook County Court.
Arena Football One (AF One) is an arena football league that coordinates games among its member teams, which included the Orlando Predators, a 23-year-old Florida team, until the team was kicked out of the organization in May 2014.
"OPSG's membership with AF One was terminated in May 2014 for failing to fulfill numerous team and League obligations," according to the July 22 complaint.
When the team's relationship with AF One ended, "all rights previously granted by AF One to OPSG were terminated, thus terminating the implied license to control the team website and ticket hotline. Furthermore, the implied license to use the Orlando Predators website and ticket hotline was strictly for promoting the Orlando Predators team or the Arena Football League," the league says in the lawsuit.
AF One claims it owns the trademark rights to "Orlando Predators."
"After OPSG's termination, Pearsall changed all administrative codes for orlandopredators.com, effectively blocking access by all parties, including all directors, officers, and employees of OPSG who previously had access to the website," the complaint states. "AF One has requested numerous times that Pearsall forfeit all administrative codes relating to orlandopredators.com. Pearsall has failed to comply with such requests.
"On July 14th, 2014, Pearsall re-directed the orlandopredators.com URL to https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/homepage.do; effectively sending all web users who visit orlandopredators.com to the Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators website."
AF One accuses Pearsall of "disparaging the Orlando Predators trademark," and calls his actions "misleading and offensive" to the team, its fans and the league.
Timeshare mogul David Siegel purchased the Orlando Predators last week, according to Florida press reports.
On Friday morning, the website orlandopredators.com still directed visitors to the Florida Law Enforcement's informational website on sexual predators.
The league seeks an injunction and damages for deceptive trade.
It is represented by Wesley Friedman.