Saying the complaint has been essentially rendered moot, a federal judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the city of Pasadena by the Tournament of Roses Association over rights to the name and trademarks for the Rose Bowl Game.

The Tournament of Roses Association filed suit in February against the city for alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition, false association, slander and false advertising.

The association contended it has full ownership of the “Rose Bowl” and “Rose Bowl Game” trademarks, while the city alleges the Tournament of Roses agreed by contract to limit its use of those trademarks without the express consent of the city.

According to the association, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. dismissed the case because there is no longer any dispute over “who actually owns the Rose Bowl Game.” The city conceded during the litigation that trademark was owned solely by the association, rendering much of the case moot, according to the association.

The judge did not decide on issues relating to the rights of the Tournament of Roses Association to relocate the game in the event of an emergency. The judge noted that since there is no current effort to relocate the game, there was no need to rule on the matter.

“When you consider all those factors, we believe the suit achieved its most important purposes,” Tournament of Roses CEO David Eads said in a statement. “Our ownership of the Rose Bowl trademarks has been confirmed, and we retain the ability to enforce our rights under the `force majeure’ provision if necessary.”

Questions about trademark ownership and rights to the game escalated when restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the Jan. 1, 2021, Rose Parade and barred fans from attending the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena. The game was ultimately moved to Arlington, Texas, marking the first time since 1942 the Rose Bowl game was played outside of Pasadena.

The Los Angeles federal court lawsuit states that the tournament association invoked the “force majeure” clause of its contract, maintaining that the pandemic was out of its control, so the association had the right to move the game out of Pasadena to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

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