Jim Speros, owner of Baltimore's Canadian Football League franchise, lost a bid to immediately regain the name CFL Colts when a court in Chicago yesterday denied his appeal of the June 27 preliminary injunction handed down by a federal court in Indianapolis.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago did, however, grant a motion by Speros' attorneys to set an expedited briefing schedule in the trademark rights case against the NFL. Briefs are to be filed by Speros' attorneys on Monday and on July 28, and by the NFL on July 22. Oral arguments will be heard in Chicago on Aug. 3.
Meanwhile, Speros' law firm of Venable, Baetjer and Howard filed briefs on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore seeking to bring the case back to Maryland.
In a motion for an expedited hearing on Speros' request for declaratory judgment over use of the Colts name, his attorneys have asked District Judge William M. Nickerson to begin hearings Aug. 8 in Baltimore.
Speros filed for declaratory judgment on March 1, when he announced he was calling his CFL expansion team the CFL Colts. On April 29, the NFL, NFL Properties and the Indianapolis Colts filed a civil suit in Indiana seeking an injunction and unspecified damages for alleged trademark infringement.
That led to the June 27 injunction by U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney that stripped Speros' team of its name.
In Tuesday's brief, Speros' attorneys wrote that, "Every day that goes by in which the team is unable to use its chosen name results in further irreparable harm to its efforts to establish a successful CFL franchise" in Baltimore.
The motion argues that the case should be heard in Baltimore because it was filed here first and because Speros does not do any business in Indiana.
"The Maryland action was not only the first-filed case, but had been pending for 2 1/2 months before [the NFL] moved for a preliminary injunction in Indiana," the document said.
Speros, in Toronto for tonight's season opener against the Argonauts, said he was willing to go without a name until the issue was decided in court.
"I think the fans know who we are," he said. "We've got the horse logo, and they can identify the team as the Baltimore CFLs. It's certainly hurting the organization. We spent four months marketing the team as the Baltimore CFL Colts."
Schmoke on hand
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is expected to attend tonight's game, and will remain in Toronto until Monday, when the CFL awards the 1996 Grey Cup. Baltimore and Hamilton have submitted bids for the championship game.
"I feel very confident," Speros said about his chances to hold the first American Grey Cup in Baltimore.