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Rose Bowl Trademark Dispute Getting Thorny


March 11, 2021

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The Roses Association, the organizer behind the Rose Bowl football game, is reportedly suing the city of Pasadena, California for trademark infringement. The lawsuit alleges that Pasadena wrongfully claimed that it can block the Roses Association from hosting the legendary college football game outside of the city due to its alleged co-ownership of the Rose Bowl trademark.


This issue arose because in 2021, for the first time since 1942, the game took place outside of Pasadena. The Roses Association and the city reportedly have agreements, including a master licence agreement, governing their cooperation over the event. That said, the College Football Playoff Committee relied upon a force majeure under its agreement with the Roses Association in order to relocate the 2021 Rose Bowl.


The lawsuit claims that Pasadena does not own any portion of the Rose Bowl trademarks. The Rose Association is seeking a declaration of its exclusive ownership over the Rose Bowl game and trademarks. It is also alleging unfair competition, false association, false endorsement, false designation of origin, false advertising, breach of contract and slander of title.

Authors: Aaron Barrett and Jaclyn Tilak

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