Soccer's international governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, is being sued by sports apparel giant Nike Inc over trademark rights to the female US soccer team.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the US District Court in Manhattan, Nike said it was entitled to use the words 'USA 2003' to promote the female US soccer team.

However, FIFA says it is entitled to use 'USA 2003' on shirts, hats, balls and key chains in the same way it promoted 'France 98', 'Korea/Japan 2002' and 'Germany 2006.' It argues that Nike was likely to mislead consumers into believing that Nike was sponsoring events staged by the association.

"The term 'USA 2003' alone has not acquired distinctiveness among consumers as an indicator of source or quality'' and does not identify or distinguish goods or services," Nike said in the lawsuit.