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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
 
Enforcing Johnny Football's Intangible Property Rights

Rick Reilly's column today, Selling Johnny Football, provides an interesting perspective on Johnny Manziel's trademark lawsuit filed in Texas against a man who was selling T-shirts that read, "Keep Calm and Johnny Football."  It was reported that Texas A&M's compliance office recently received a ruling from the NCAA that an athlete can keep earnings (a damages award) obtained in a lawsuit.  Why the NCAA thinks it must first give an athlete permission before he can sue someone for stealing his intangible property rights and keep the damages award if successful is beyond me.  Would an athlete also need the NCAA's permission to sue someone for stealing his wallet or computer?

But in any event, Reilly raises the point in his column that now that the NCAA has given its "blessing" for Manziel to enforce his legal rights against those profiting off his identity, he should go after the NCAA and Texas A&M now.   Reilly asks:  "How can the NCAA see the evil in some citizen cashing in unfairly on Manziel's name but not when it does it?  How can Texas A&M send out more than 60 cease-and-desist letters to people selling Manziel items, as it says it has, and not accept one itself?" 





5 Comments:

As to your first question asking about the distinction between suing to protect IP rights and for someone stealing a wallet, the presence and value of Manziel's IP rights are inextricably linked to his athletic career.

As to the second comment about Manziel enforcing IP rights against A&M or the NCAA, he has already signed over those rights as a condition of participation.


Blogger John Dougherty -- 2/27/2013 11:20 AM  


As to your first question asking about the distinction between suing to protect IP rights and for someone stealing a wallet, the presence and value of Manziel's IP rights are inextricably linked to his athletic career.

As to the second comment about Manziel enforcing IP rights against A&M or the NCAA, he has already signed over those rights as a condition of participation.

Blogger John Dougherty -- 2/27/2013 11:21 AM  


As to your first question asking about the distinction between suing to protect IP rights and for someone stealing a wallet, the presence and value of Manziel's IP rights are inextricably linked to his athletic career.

As to the second comment about Manziel enforcing IP rights against A&M or the NCAA, he has already signed over those rights as a condition of participation.

Blogger John Dougherty -- 2/27/2013 11:21 AM  


What's to stop Johnny's neighbor from printing a batch of T-shirts and selling them for $20 near the stadium at an A&M game, then being "sued" by Johnny for trademark infringement? If he and Johnny settled out of court and remained pals how would this differ from the case you referenced? How much separation between the neighbor and Johnny would be required? Since the NCAA cannot force anyone other than Johnny to submit to an interview, where does the investigation begin if Johnny denies any knowledge of the plan before the fact? How do we know this has not already happened?

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Blogger Joseph Cauley -- 3/12/2013 5:30 AM  


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