(some “Who Dat” graffiti, care of Flickr user “no, i have no idea“)
So it’s Super Bowl Sunday, which for IP nerds means it’s time to air our annual complaints about the NFL’s drastically overreaching intellectual property practice. So as you get ready for the big game be sure to check out the following:
- Ron Coleman over at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION (R) gives a quick overview of the NFL’s trademark practice, including, among other things, attempts to register a trademark in “The Big Game,” to force professionals photographers working at The Big Game to wear Reebok and Canon logos, and to claim that their overzealous enforcement of trademarks is done in the interest of the fans. (Coleman also goes into the “55-inch TV rule” people are writing about, but I find that argument extremely dishonest and unnecessary, especially considering there are legitimate IP things we can use to get angry.)
- Blake Reid at ChillingEffects addresses recent attempts by the NFL to crack down on “unauthorized” uses of the “Who Dat” slogan attributable to the Saints, as well as a recap of other famous NFL IP bullying.
- Kevin Underhill of Lowering the Bar describes the events that lead up to the NFL backing down on their “Who Dat” legal attacks.
- Finally, Martin Schwimmer, normally of The Trademark Blog, wrote an excellent column in the Huffington Post, examining the “Who Dat” question through the lens of other famous team-fan names (Red Sox Nation, the 12th Man, Cheeseheads, etc.). Martin wins for best quote about the whole “Who Dat” scandal, after Sen. Ensign attacked the NFL for going after New Orleans shops selling “Who Dat” shirts:
Practice pointer: try to avoid situations where an alleged patron of prostitutes can take a holier-than-thou stance with regard to your client.
Enjoy the game!