NCAA Fails to Appear for Trademark Trial, Files New Suit Entirely

On March 4, 2018, two owners of Southern California Ford dealerships filed for dismissal or staying of a trademark infringement suit initiated by the NCAA, while the parties await decision on the same issue from the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB). The NCAA initiated a suit in response to the dealerships’ uses of “Markdown Madness,” claiming the slogan could easily be confused with the NCAA’s “March Madness.” Dealership owners and defendants, Ken Grody Management, Inc. and Dixon Ford, Inc., had already been defending the …

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NCAA Wins Another Trademark Infringement Suit

On January 18, 2018, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson granted the NCAA’s motion, and subsequently, entered a default judgement against Kizzang LLC. Kizzang provides online sweepstakes and fantasy sports entertainment services. As we have previously covered, the suit originally began in March 2017 when the NCAA opposed Kizzang’s attempt to register the marks “April Madness” and “Final 3.” The NCAA sued Kizzang alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. The NCAA complained that Kizzang’s marks infringed, diluted, and unfairly competed with the …

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NCAA Hopes for Slam Dunk in Trademark Infringement Suit

The NCAA, on November 13, 2017, asked for a default judgment and a permanent injunction against Kizzang LLC and its owner, Robert Alexander, for alleged trademark infringement of “March Madness” and “Final Four.” A judge had issued a stipulated order back in March under which Alexander and Kizzang agreed not to use “April Madness” or “Final 3” in its online fantasy games.

The suit was originally filed in March 2017, less than a week before the NCAA’s annual Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. It …

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Game Developer Moves to Transfer Trademark Suit Outside of NCAA Home Ground

On August 31, 2017, defendant Kizzang LLC, a game developer, filed a motion in its case against the NCAA to either move the case from the Indiana Federal Court or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction and venue. The suit stems from the allegations that Kizzang infringed on the NCAA’s trademarks, “March Madness” and “Final Four.”

Kizzang claimed the NCAA filed the suit in the Indiana Federal Court only out of convenience and that none of its allegations included any direct contact with the …

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Game Developer Agrees to Cease Usage of “April Madness” and “Final 3” in 2017

Game developer Kizzang LLC, accused by the NCAA of infringing on the Association’s “March Madness” Trademark, has agreed to cease use of similar marks for any of its basketball-themed games during 2017 — while the infringement suit proceeds in Indiana federal court.

As background, the NCAA — an avid defender of its “March Madness” mark — filed suit against Kizzang and its owner, Robert Alexander, less than a week before the annual commencement of its men’s basketball tournament. As previously reported, the NCAA’s …

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NCAA Initiates Trademark Infringement Suit Against Online Game Developer Over “April Madness”

With “March Madness” upon us, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

As background, the NCAA has used the trademarks “Final Four” and “March Madness” to identify and distinguish is basketball competitions for over twenty years. The NCAA marks cover goods like duffel bags, tote bags, and telecommunication services.

Notorious for protecting its right to the “Madness” name, the NCAA initiated this trademark infringement suit over online fantasy games called “…

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Will North Carolina’s 2017 March Madness Games Be Relocated to New York?

In early September, the NCAA announced it would not be holding the first two rounds of the 2017 March Madness Tournament in North Carolina due its controversial bathroom law. The bathroom law, which was implemented earlier this year, requires that individuals use the public bathrooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Many sports associations, and specifically the NCAA, have taken a stand to protect the beliefs of the transgender individuals greatly offended by this law and refused to hold events in …

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Hand It Over: NCAA to Produce Redacted Broadcasting Agreement With CBS, Turner

On September 16, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins signed a stipulated order to produce redacted versions of the NCAA’s 2010 broadcasting agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting. This 2010 agreement was extended back in April for another eight years for a rights fee of $8.8 billion.

This order comes after all five major collegiate athletic conferences similarly agreed to reveal their own television deals. The plaintiff student-athletes have argued that they need the conferences’ broadcasting agreements along with other business documents in …

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Knight Commission Urges NCAA Tournament Money for Students

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics has operated as an indicator of reform in college athletics, frequently forecasting National Collegiate Athletic Association policy change. On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the commission recommended that NCAA leadership pursue oversight, legal, and financial reforms. Among the reform recommendations, the Commission urged the NCAA to reconsider current guidelines for the use of NCAA March Madness tournament revenues distributed to institutions.

Under the current distribution scheme, just 25 percent, or $120 million, of NCAA revenues received by institutions are restricted …

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Will an Anti-Transgender Law Prohibit North Carolina from Holding NCAA Events?

North Carolina has received a great deal of attention for many recent NCAA controversies. In January 2015, the NCAA and University of North Carolina were sued by two former student athletes for offering “paper classes.” The plaintiffs claimed the university failed to provide a “meaningful education” because it steered student athletes towards classes that involved little work, lenient attendance policies, minimal faculty interaction, lax writing standards, and high final grades. As a result of this lawsuit, the NCAA brought five breach of conduct allegations against …

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