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R.I. Man's Goal: Find Ronaldo to Serve Underwear Lawsuit

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 17, 2014 1:05 PM

A Rhode Island man who's suing Cristiano Ronaldo over the soccer star's upcoming underwear line has run into a problem: Ronaldo is seemingly nowhere to be found.

Christopher Renzi filed a trademark lawsuit earlier this year against Ronaldo and Danish underwear company JBS Textile Group after learning the company had planned to market underwear in the U.S. using Ronaldo's "CR7" nickname, reports The Associated Press. Although Ronaldo sells clothing and underwear in Europe under the CR7 name, Renzi owns the U.S. trademark for CR7 in for his own line of products.

But Renzi's efforts to enforce his trademark against Ronaldo have so far been stifled by an inability to track down the Real Madrid soccer star.

Service of Process

After a civil lawsuit is filed, the defendant in the lawsuit must be given notice of the lawsuit through service of the summons and a copy of the complaint. Known as "service of process," this gives a court jurisdiction over a case, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

In Renzi's case, he was given until the end of November to notify Ronaldo of the lawsuit. But his lawyer said that so far, attempts to serve Ronaldo have been unsuccessful.

When Spanish officials attempted to serve the documents at the headquarters of Real Madrid -- the Spanish soccer team for which Ronaldo plays -- the team refused to accept them. Renzi is now attempting to serve Ronaldo at an address where he is believed to live. He has been given until March 26 to track down the soccer star.

Trademark Infringement

The lawsuit itself is based on Renzi's defense of his registered trademark. Generally, trademark infringement lawsuits can be brought to prevent others from using a trademark that infringes upon an existing trademark or to seek damages for the illegal use of a trademark.

In this case, Ronaldo's CR7 line of underwear is not yet being sold in the United States, but Renzi's lawyer told the AP that they are keeping an eye out for it. In the meantime, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office has suspended a petition by JBS to cancel Renzi's trademark.

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