If you are a lawyer, there is a serious danger that someone at the Super Bowl party you attend is going to want to talk about an NFL-related legal issue. Did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really have standing to challenge Commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary package? What is the status of Colin Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit?… More
Tag Archives: NFL
Of Slants, Skins, And Signs: Section 2(a) Prohibition of Disparaging Trademark Registrations Struck Down!
Well, that happened! According to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Matal v. Tam, Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which purports to prohibit the registration of marks that “disparage . . . persons,” is unconstitutional. When we first started blogging on this topic, here, we noted that certain stars were aligning for a constitutional showdown. … More
Sue-per Bowl Shuffle III: The Year In NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation
Two years ago, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those intellectual property lawsuits that sports fans assume IP lawyers know about. This anxiety led me to put together the Sue-per Bowl Shuffle I and Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: guides to trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property disputes concerning the NFL during 2014 and 2015 respectively.… More
Fall Is In The Air: Are The Justices Getting Ready For The Gridiron?
The Washington Redskins Ask The Supreme Court To Block Fourth Circuit From Participation In Important Trademark Cases
Another Labor Day is behind us, kids are back to school, and fall has unofficially arrived (it will become official on the September 22nd equinox). The autumn leaves bring with them two major opening days. One is already behind us, as the NFL literally kicked off its season on September 8 with a matchup between the Carolina Panthers (20) and the Denver Broncos (21).… More
Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The March To The Supreme Court
This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc.
In re Tam
We have discussed In re Tam in prior posts. In December 2015, the en banc Federal Circuit struck down Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act,… More
Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation
Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So I put together the first Sue-per Bowl Shuffle, a guide to the year’s gridiron disputes over trademarks, copyright, the right of publicity and other matters with a First Amendment flavor.… More
Sue-per Bowl Shuffle 2014: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation
Heading into this year’s Super Bowl party season, there are two things every lawyer should be concerned about. First, why can’t your team get it together? Second, what do you do if you are asked to explain to your friends and neighbors some NFL-related litigation that you haven’t been following? We can’t help you with the first problem (although, as an Iggles fan living in the heart of Patriots Nation,… More
Sports Franchise Marks and Logos: One Owner, or Many?
In American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the National Football League was subject to suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act regarding its practices in licensing team trademarks to merchandisers. Between 1963 and 2000, the IP licensing entity set up by the league, NFL Properties, had “granted nonexclusive licenses to a number of vendors,” including American Needle, “permitting them to manufacture and sell apparel bearing team insignias.” In 2000,… More