osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

NFL More Persnickity Than SCA College of Heralds On Conflict

OK, I find this story of the NFL claiming Fleur de Lis trademarks as extremely amusing.

As the article notes, the NFL is trying to claim a trademark right in the phrase "Who Dat?" which apparently has some association for the New Orleans Saints. But as the article also notes, there is a company called "WhoDAt, Inc." which already has a trademark in "Who Dat?" So the NFL now claims it has a trademark in any use of the phrase associated with a fleur-de-lis, which is apaprently a symbol of the New Orleans Saints. However, as the president of Who Dat, Inc. noted, the trademark is actually for a very specific -- indeed, heraldically blazonable -- symbol:
f you go back to 1967, to date, they have registered and used the fleur de lis in a very specific way. They put it on the Saints helmet and on the Saints 'shield.' Its colors are very specific -- they're 'old gold and black.' But for the NFL to expand that definition and say that no matter what color and what style of fleur de lis, if you put it on an item, it means Saints, it is, as many believe, is just not correct. The fleur de lis belongs to everyone including the people of New Orleans.

According to the New Orleans Saints website, the official colors were:
Gold helmet, black Fleur-de-Lis emblem with white outline on both sides
. It has been sufficiently long ago since I did any SCA heraldry, so I shall leave the blazon to someone else.

Back when I was doing my bit with the SCA COA, there used to be a rule that if a set of arms had two points of difference, it did not conflict. The NFL would like to believe that if it has 2 points of similarity, it infringes. Finally, I cannot help but note that many years ago, when I first got into trademark law, I noted wryly that all those people who said you could never make a living from what you picked up in the SCA COA were simply wrong. We trained an army of trademark examiners.

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