In a dramatic turn of events, a prominent baseball club has filed a lawsuit against a local business for allegedly infringing on its intellectual property and unjustly enriching itself at the club’s expense. The Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC lodged the complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on June 18, 2024, targeting Aidan Dunican and Rooftop by the Firehouse, Inc., which operates under the name Wrigley View Rooftop.

According to the court filing, Dunican and Wrigley View Rooftop have been selling tickets to view Cubs games from their rooftop facility without an active license since their previous agreement expired. The Cubs allege that despite repeated warnings, the defendants continue to market themselves as an “Official Cubs Partner” and falsely claim endorsement by the Chicago Cubs. This conduct, according to the plaintiff, constitutes misappropriation of property rights, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.

The Chicago Cubs have long invested heavily in their team and stadium. The costs associated with maintaining Wrigley Field and fielding a competitive Major League Baseball team are substantial. The club argues that Dunican and his business are profiting from these investments without bearing any of the associated costs. “Defendants make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,” states the complaint, “all without incurring the costs required to produce the Cubs’ product.”

The lawsuit further details how Wrigley View Rooftop’s use of Cubs’ trademarks and logos in their marketing materials is misleading fans into believing there is an official partnership or endorsement. The Cubs argue this not only harms their brand but also diverts potential revenue away from them. “Fans associate the Cubs’ trademarks with quality,” reads one part of the filing. “Defendants’ unauthorized use of those marks harms that reputation.”

In terms of relief sought, the Chicago Cubs are asking for compensatory damages along with disgorgement of unlawful profits made by Wrigley View Rooftop. They are also seeking statutory damages, treble damages under federal law for willful infringement, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. Additionally, they request a permanent injunction preventing Dunican and his business from selling tickets to view live games at Wrigley Field or using any Cubs-related intellectual property in their advertising.

Representing the Chicago Cubs in this case are attorneys Timothy W. Knapp and Kent J. Hayden from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The case has been assigned Case ID 24-cv-05086.

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