Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Who Dat" Say They Gonna Own This Putative Trademark Two-Word Question?

Posted by Alan Childress

And send cease and desist letters to Mom & Pop tshirt shops who for years have been selling clothing asking that two-word question?  Why, the NFL of course.  And the timing seems to be now because the Saints are in the Superbowl -- no one in the Front Office (wherever the NFL is) seemed to care when the team was just losers.

Never mind that the Who Dat phrase was actually invented for other local teams like St. Augustine High School and later borrowed for the Saints by fans.  And used in 1983 as associated with the Saints in a copyrighted recording, by players and Aaron Neville, who apparently are not getting any tshirt royalties out of all this (nor the Marx Brothers, who used the two words in a movie, borrowing from vaudeville).  And that the "Saints" name as a football team was used by lots of local high schools, including my son's St. Nfl_a_tshirt1_sw_300 Martin's Episcopal School, long before the NFL ever thought to place an awful franchise in the city.  Who stole from whom?

The NFL is targeting designs without the Saints or NFL logo or name on them -- just 100px-Blason_France_moderne.svg
anything associated with the Saints and that two-word phrase. (Espn image right, from an AP photo.) And in this specific case that other emblem is simply the fleur de lis.

The fleur de lis?  THE FLEUR DE LIS?  The NFL makes claim to the FLEUR DE LIS?  That has been around as a symbol for New Orleans since, oh, like 1713???  Or for that matter the flags of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Louisville, Detroit, St. Louis, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette!  And Bosnia. And a city in Finland called Liljendal (ironically named since our Governor Bobby Jindal is now being asked to sue the NFL over this lily, the official state symbol).  And the Boy Scouts.

I hope that relatives of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville send a cease and desist letter to the NFL.  I just hate it when my neighbor borrows the antique family-heirloom lawnmower and then files an injunction to claim it was his all along.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/01/who-dat-say-they-gonna-own-this-putative-trademark-twoword-question.html

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