Sony sued for trademark infringement following ‘MLB the Show’ use of ‘Future Stars Program’

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Sony Interactive is being sued by Program 15, the company that owns the Future Star Series amateur baseball development program. Program 15 alleges trademark infringement for Sony’s use of the “Future Star Series Program” in connection with the popular video game “MLB the Show.”

In the suit, Program 15 claims that the “Program Future Stars Series” feature found in “MLB the Show” illegally infringes on Program 15’s trademarks and creates material confusion between the Future Stars Series and the video game feature. The Future Star Series (FSS) was launched in 2016; The “Future Stars Series Program” has been a feature of “MLB the Show” since 2017.

Founded by former MLB scout Jeremy Booth, Program 15 operates the Future Star Series, which includes player development coaching, combines and tournaments. Last year, Program 15 partnered with Stack Sports and began a collaboration with Area Code Baseball, one of the largest amateur baseball showcase platforms.

Program 15 alleges that Sony profited from the Futures Stars Series trademark by selling items on the online marketplace “MLB the Show,” including virtual baseball cards and packs bearing the Future Stars and Future Stars Series trademarks. Some of these virtual cards would have featured players who participated in Program 15’s Future Stars Series events as amateurs. FSS alumni include Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Gilbert, Tink Here, Ricky Tiedemann, Zac Veen and 2023 MLB first-round picks Dylan Crews and Tommy Troy.

Program 15 seeks damages related to trademark infringement, false advertising, and unjust enrichment, among other claims.

The initial complaint was filed last August in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. On Monday, Program 15 filed a motion to compel the production of documents and respond to discovery requests, claiming that the defendants had refused to properly respond to several requests for documents. The trial is currently scheduled for February 2025.

Program 15 declined to comment and Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Photo: Jason Hanna / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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