RGIII’s Trademark Application Faces Its First Test

As the trademark world anxiously awaits the decision of the three-judge panel at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (and which we’ll be covering in great depth in our enhanced Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark section of the blog), regarding whether the Washington Redskins logo is disparaging and thus whether the ’Skins would be forced to relinquish trademark protection over perhaps their most prized asset, Washington’s star player, Robert Griffin III, was in court settling a trademark dispute of his own.

Griffin, who is …

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Steelers’ Proposed Seat Expansion Sacked by Judge

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, a Pennsylvania judge rejected the Pittsburg Steelers’ request to force Heinz Stadium’s owner to pay for part of a proposed seat expansion.  The Steelers contended the Pittsburg-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority (Authority) was required to pay two-thirds of the 3,000 seat, $30 million dollar expansion.  The Steelers filed a partial summary judgment motion to resolve the expansion funding before trial.  The judge dismissed the motion saying that the Steelers failed to prove the requirements necessary by the plain language …

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Louisiana Court Limits Workers’ Compensation Recovery

On May 16, 2013, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana (5th Circuit), held that former National Football League (NFL) player Daniel Campbell was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on his projected NFL salary instead of his pre-season earnings.

In June through August of 2009 during pre-season training, Mr. Campbell sustained two separate injuries to his right knee which effectively ended his career as a football player.  Per his contract with the New Orleans Saints, he was to earn $525 per week for …

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Touchdown Jets! Federal Judge Rules New York Football Team Can Use “Ultimate Fan” Phrase

New York Jets LLC recently scored a touchdown when a Louisiana Federal Court ruled that a sports marketing company no longer owned the trademark to “Ultimate Fan.” On May 30th, United States District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana granted the Jets’ motion for summary judgment against Action Ink Inc. holding that the ‘Ultimate Fan’ trademark was abandoned and Action Ink had no enforceable trademark rights to the phrase.

Action Ink sued the Jets in 2012 claiming that it …

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NFL Players’ Workers’ Compensation Offset Suit Revisited by Second Circuit

On April 19, 2013, the Second Circuit reopened a claim allowing injured former National Football League (NFL) players from teams including the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers to go forward with further litigation against the National Football League Management Council (council) over the size of workers’ compensation offsets that can be claimed by their former teams.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and the council are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that incorporates a standard player’s contract into its terms …

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Insurance Blunder Costs Newest Philadelphia Eagles’ QB $11.5 Million

Quarterback Matt Barkley was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 98th pick in the 2013 NFL draft.  He was the fourth quarterback selected and was the first selection in the fourth round.  History suggests that he will sign a four-year contract with the Eagles worth about $2.5 million.  Sure, that’s a lot of dough, but not nearly what Barkley would have earned had he foregone his senior season at USC and entered the NFL draft in 2012. As a projected top-10 pick …

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Objectionable Combine Questions Lead the NFL and NY Attorney General to Team Up to Combat Sexual Orientation Based Harassment and Discrimination

On April 24, 2013, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that the AG’s office would be working closely with the NFL to develop news policies to protect players from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.  Eventually, the effort will produce posters outlining the NFL’s anti-discrimination policies, which will be distributed and prominently placed in the locker rooms of all 32 teams across the league.  The NFL also plans to implement new training procedures to educate players and individuals involved in recruiting on …

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NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent.  The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos.  Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit.

NFL teams must decide whether to release or retain players by a league …

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Athletes Awarded Millions from California’s Workers Compensation System

All states allow athletes to be awarded workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained during their playing days.  However, California has emerged as a favorite jurisdiction for two reasons.  First, California is one of the few states that allow athletes to claim injuries for the cumulative effect of injuries over time, or what some jurisdictions would call either an “occupational disease” or “cumulative injury.”  Second, California has extremely lax personal jurisdiction requirements.

Ordinarily, a claimant in a workers’ compensation claim would need to establish residency or …

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NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine

On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions.   The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.”

New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating …

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