February 03, 2010

Who Dat who say Who Dat when I say Who Dat?: Come on sports fans. Where is this going to end? Is the NFL going to claim Yay as their intellectual property too? Is any word or phrase once remotely associated with professional football be at risk?

posted by irunfromclones to football at 07:20 PM - 14 comments

My initial read-through of the article seems to indicate that the NFL isn't sending out the cease-and-desist order for the use of "Who Dat", but for the use of "Who Dat" and the Saints fleur-de-lis and other Saints trademarks/designs.

The league said Friday it's not trying to exclude all uses of Who Dat and the fleur-de-lis logo -- just when either is used in combination with other Saints trademarks, like their fleur-de-lis logo and uniform designs.

If that is the case, then the NFL does have a legal right (and, in fact, a necessity) to send out the cease-and-desist orders.

If they don't attempt to protect their trademarks (Saints logo and designs), then they run the risk of losing them entirely to the public domain*. Since they make a lot of money selling Saints jerseys, they don't want to lose that revenue stream to any Tom-Dick-and-Henri that wants to create crappy knockoffs.

posted by grum@work at 01:41 AM on February 04

The fleur-de-lis has been around for centuries, so I am not exactly sure how the NFL figures they can trademark it. I don't disagree that they have a right to the their image, but this is a stupid fight that makes them look greedy and silly.

posted by scully at 07:57 AM on February 04

But isn't the NFL only trying to trademark the fleur-de-lis as a combination of the Saints design? It's not like they're trying to trademark the fleur-de-lis by itself but still, I agree that this whole thing sounds frivolous.

posted by BornIcon at 08:45 AM on February 04

I am not exactly sure how the NFL figures they can trademark it

Basically what BI said, it's not the symbol (I'm sure the House of Bourbon or whomever would have something to say about prior art), but the context. I am no fan of corporations, but trademark law says, "Defend it or lost it", so it's no surprise a multi-billion dollar organization would do just that.

posted by yerfatma at 10:02 AM on February 04

The NFL doesn't own the trademark to the fleur-de-lis nor do they own the trademark to the "Who Dat", but they claim trademark if they are used together? That doesn't sound right to me.

posted by bperk at 10:22 AM on February 04

Used to be if you displayed the fleur-de-lis and shouted "Who dat!" you'd get a visit from Cardinal Mazarin's boys and wind up in the Bastille.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:45 AM on February 04

I did a little searching to see what sort of t-shirts are out there and how they compare with the current Saints logo.

So here is the logo:

Photobucket

And here's a link to the first page of Google images for "Who Dat t shirts":

The NFL's complaint seems to be using the Saints logo with the phrase and the colors. There may be specific t-shirts out there using the exact New Orleans logo, and those are fair game to shut down. But unless they've trademarked every fleur-de-lis ever created, the colours black and gold and the phrase, I'd say they can suck it.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:04 AM on February 04

Wouldn't it be kinda cool if the NFL and Disney got into a war of mutual annihilation over trademark infringement? Seems like a ruthless and creative person ought to be able to set that up, Fistful-of-Dollars-style. Unfortunately for the under-entertained masses, I am ruthless and I am creative, but I'm also lazy, so someone else is going to have to lead this initiative.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:42 AM on February 04

WHO DAT say we can't say WHO DAT!!!

posted by jstron at 11:44 AM on February 04

I am ruthless and I am creative, but I'm also lazy..

Sounds like most ruthless and creative peopl...Zzzzzzzzzzzz..where was I again?

posted by BornIcon at 12:21 PM on February 04

Is this the NFL equivalent of "Whoareya?" at soccer matches?

posted by JJ at 12:30 PM on February 04

I am not even close to a lawyer, just more of a contrarian, but here are some potentially relevant passages from that bastion of English Common Law, Wikipedia:

'For trademarks which are considered to be well known, infringing use may occur where the use occurs in relation to products or services which are not the same as or similar to the products or services in relation to which the owner's mark is registered.'

'Under trademark law, dilution occurs either when unauthorized use of a mark "blurs" the "distinctive nature of the mark" or "tarnishes it." Likelihood of confusion is not required.'

Again, while I believe the NFL is the No Fun League, I also think most large corporations have long-since converted to knee-jerk trademark defense. It's a full employment act for lawyers.

posted by yerfatma at 02:05 PM on February 04

'For trademarks which are considered to be well known, infringing use may occur where the use occurs in relation to products or services which are not the same as or similar to the products or services in relation to which the owner's mark is registered.'

Like all those decals of Calvin pissing on something or other?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:37 PM on February 04

Yeah, take that Chevrolet. Those are clever.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:47 PM on February 04

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