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Wells Fargo fight over rooftop signs now a federal case

Wells Fargo has a fairly significant presence in North Carolina. The banking giant's securities division is based in Charlotte, and of course the firm has branches nationwide. That creates lot of opportunity for business disputes to foment.

Not all of those disagreements necessarily warrant the status of a federal case, but there is one in Minnesota that is getting that level of attention, so it seems fitting to talk about it here. What it drives home in our view is that while litigation might not be a preferred route to a resolution, sometimes it is required. An attorney's skills may be needed throughout the course of things.

The dispute in question might not seem to be of great significance on its face. Indeed, the federal judge hearing the case has even suggested as much by asking during a hearing last month why the two sides can't just sit down and work things out through negotiation.

At the heart of the conflict are competing marketing interests. On one side is Wells Fargo. On the other are the Minnesota Vikings and U.S. Bank. U.S. Bank has paid a hefty sum for the right to have its name branded on the new Viking arena. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo has mounted its logo on the rooftops of two 17-story towers near to the stadium. What it means is bird's eye view of dueling advertising.

The Vikings have gone to federal court to argue that the Wells Fargo signs violate a contract the team signed with the bank and asking the court to order that they be covered up. In a decision late last month, the judge said the signs can remain but suggested that the bank will likely be required to put them flush on the roof. They're elevated 18 inches up right now, but the contract reportedly says specifically that signage must be painted on the roof.

It might seem like a small thing to be fighting over, but it's clear that both the Vikings and Wells Fargo believe there is a great deal at stake.

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