Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:40 am
Edited on: January 9, 2012 12:09 pm

Texas A&M going after the Denver Broncos

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Sunday the Denver Broncos, and Tim Tebow in particular, were blowing the minds of football fans across the country while beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs. It was pretty much a wonderful day to be a Broncos fan, but it was also a day that may find the team in court soon.

That's because after the Broncos beat the Steelers in overtime there was this tweet from Texas A&M's Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jason Cook.

Yes, before the game a man parachuted into the stadium waving a flag that said "12th man" and the flag was waved during the game. Which seems completely harmless and pretty much commonplace, but Texas A&M owns the trademark for it and is planning on getting its money.

It's not the first time that the school has gotten involved in something like this, as it filed a lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 for the same thing. Now any Seahawks broadcasts that mention the crowd as "the 12th man" also has to mention Texas A&M's trademark.

Seems pretty stupid, right? Yeah, that's because it is, though there's also an easy solution. Instead of referring to your home crowd as "the 12th man" just start referring to them as "the 12th player." Then Texas A&M will have to find a whole new way to waste everybody's time.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 2:17 pm

Don't wear an OU shirt to Mike Gundy's house

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's a helpful tip to anyone that may be hired by Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy to work around Gundy's home in Stillwater: don't show up on the first day of work wearing an Oklahoma shirt.

On Thursday Brent Loveland filed a lawsuit in Payne County alleging that after he was hired to work on Gundy's new home, he was fired for wearing an Oklahoma shirt to the job. Loveland, a trim specialist, is seeking damages in excess of $10,000 as he claims he lost out on $30,000 in potential income by turning down other work so that he could take the job at Gundy's house.
The suit states that Mike Gundy and Loveland verbally agreed in February that Loveland would perform trim installation at an overall payment of $80,600. The alleged confrontation occurred on what would have been Loveland’s first day on the job.

According to the suit, Gundy approached Loveland and said, “How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?” The states that when Loveland asked what Gundy was referring to, the coached replied by saying, “That (expletive deleted) shirt you have on.”
Loveland claims that he got dressed in the dark that morning and wasn't even aware that the shirt he put on had an Oklahoma logo on it. Which, in my opinion, is a bit laughable. Even if he didn't notice the shirt when he first put it on, he had plenty of time to notice once he left his dark room and made his way to Gundy's house. I'm thinking Loveland knew exactly what he was doing when he put the shirt on, but that he just didn't think he would be fired for wearing it.

Gundy wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but his lawyer did release a statement for him.

“While I cannot discuss the specifics of pending litigation," said the statement, "I deny the allegations being made and welcome the opportunity to fully resolve the matter.” 

Hat tip: Kegs 'N Eggs
Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 5:28 pm

LaBelle files countersuit against Army's King

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Singer Patti LaBelle has filed a countersuit against former Army cornerback Richard King.

As you may recall, King recently found himself in an altercation -- there is video of the incident in our original post -- with some of LaBelle's bodyguards at a Houston airport earlier this month. An altercation that resulted in King suffering a concussion and being suspended for a year from the football team, effectively ending his football career at West Point. As if all that wasn't enough, King was also sent into active duty.

Now, following the lawsuit that King filed against LaBelle, LaBelle has filed a countersuit against King.

LaBelle claims in the suit that King peppered her with racial insults before she ordered her bodyguards to beat him up, for which he is suing her.

King reportedly was beaten while he was in his hometown, Houston, for spring break on March 11. According to a lawsuit filed by King, he was beaten after LaBelle thought he was standing too close to her luggage at the airport.

At the time, LaBelle’s people claimed that King – who would have been a fifth-year senior this fall – was drunk, disorderly and causing problems.

I guess giving King another concussion -- one of many he has suffered from, as he missed his entire junior season due to concussions -- while having her security guards beat him down and then getting him sent into active duty wasn't enough. 

As I said in my original post on this story, I'm inclined to believe that if the Army has sent King back into active duty that there must be more to the story that we have not seen or heard. Still, when watching the video of the altercation, to me it doesn't look like King was doing anything that warranted the beating he received. I've no idea what, if anything, he said to LaBelle or her bodyguards as there's no audio, but I believe King has suffered enough -- maybe more than -- for whatever happened that day.

To file a lawsuit against him, even if it's just retaliation for the one he's filed against LaBelle, seems plain cruel to me. 

Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:12 pm

Court dismisses complaint against EA Sports

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been two years since former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon sued EA Sports, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Company for their continued use of the likenesses of college athletes in video games without compensating the players. O'Bannon's lawsuit was combined with similar lawsuits from Oscar Robertson and former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller. Which is a concern to the many college football fans who not only enjoy watching college football on Saturdays in the fall, but also enjoy playing EA Sports' NCAA Football on their Playstations and XBoxes. 

Well, EA Sports got some good news this week, as a court in northern California dismissed the complaint against the video game giant.

Judge Claudia Wilken for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the complaint against EA Sports, ruling, "This purported conspiracy involves Defendants' concerted action to require all current student-athletes to sign forms each year that purport to require each of them to relinquish all rights in perpetuity for use of their images, likenesses and/or names and to deny compensation 'through restrictions in the NCAA Bylaws.' The Consolidated Amended Complaint, however, does not contain any allegations to suggest that EA agreed to participate in this conspiracy."

Which makes sense, seeing as how it's not EA Sports going from player to player forcing them to sign a waiver that gives up the rights to their likeness. That would be the NCAA and CLC doing that, and that also explains why Judge Wilken decided not to dismiss the same complaint against them. Which means that while EA Sports is in the clear, this case is far from over.

And, yes, that means the possibility that EA Sports' college football games will feature generic players not based on the real players at some point down the line still exists. It may not be likely, but there's a chance. Which, as somebody who enjoys playing the games myself can tell you, would suck. Thankfully there are certain gamers out there who go through the trouble of naming rosters for other players to download for their games, and hopefully those same heroes would create the real rosters for the rest of us to download.

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday

Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:47 pm

N.C. State wants to remain one school Wolfpack

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we've seen recently, universities aren't afraid to go after high schools for copyright infringement on their logos and other trademarks. It doesn't really seem fair for schools like Florida State to go after high schools, but it's the world we live in where college athletics equal big bucks, and merchandise sales certainly add to it. Further north in the ACC, N.C. State now finds itself in a similar situation, though it isn't going after a high school. No, N.C. State is going after a small university in Louisiana called Loyola.

It seems Loyola calls its sports teams the Wolfpack, and N.C. State wants to make sure that it is the only Wolfpack in the country.
The Jesuit school in Louisiana has called itself the Wolfpack for more than a half-century, but N.C. State says it owns the exclusive legal right to use the Wolfpack name and logo.
N.C. State Assistant General Counsel Shawn Troxler last month notified Loyola officials that their use of the Wolfpack image constitutes trademark infringement. Loyola's use of Wolfpack could lead to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketing-intense, big-money world of collegiate sports.
"People could think something is being sponsored by N.C. State," Troxler said Sunday. "We're in the beginning stages of discussion of how they could use the term 'Wolfpack.' "
N.C. State trademarked the name Wolfpack back in 1983, though Loyola has used the name since the 1930s. Though not trademarked, N.C. State didn't begin using the nickname until 1947. So I'm not sure how this will work in a courtroom, since I didn't study Mascot Law in college. What I do know is that N.C. State went through a similar case with Nevada, which ended up changing its name from Wolfpack to Wolf Pack. It's possible that Loyola may end up doing the same thing.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 12:11 pm

Tupac fan now suing Pac-12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A few weeks ago, we told you about the Tupac Shakur fan who owned the website domain name Pac12.com. When the new Pac-12 found out the domain name was owned, it sent the man, whom we now know is Austin Linford, a cease and desist letter in January. Linford then responded by putting up an Amazon widget to Tupac's music on his website, and the Pac-12 filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Well, it seems Mr. Linford can get lawyered up too. Linford has filed his own lawsuit against the Pac-12.
Austin Linford filed the suit after the PAC-10 filed a UDRP complaint with World Intellectual Property Organization to get the domain name Pac12.com. Linford is asking for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement.
Although it originally appeared that the domain name changed hands immediately after the PAC-10 announced it was changing to the PAC-12, I’m now convinced that the same person owned the domain name. Linford just used different registrant information in WHOIS. This means he owned the domain name some five years before the conference announced its name change.
To go along with Pac12.com, Linford also owns Pacific12.com and PACtwelve.com. Now, if you ask me, the fact that Linford owns the domain name Pacific12.com tells me that he knew exactly what he was doing when he bought these domain names. I'm just impressed with his foresight and the fact that he bought the domains five years ago.

Seems he knew what was coming.

So the Pac-12 has a few options here. It can either spend some money to fight a court battle it isn't guaranteed to win, or it can use that money and make Linford an offer for the domains. After all, I don't think he bought them with anything else in mind.

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday
Posted on: January 28, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 12:10 pm

Ole Miss to be hit with $10 million lawsuit

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last offseason, Bennie Abram walked on to the Ole Miss football team. Tragically, on February 19, Abram died after running through some agility drills. Coaches noticed Abrams struggling through the drills, and then pulled him out and called 911. Abram was taken to the hospital, but died a few hours later from what the doctors said were problems stemming from sickle cell traits, exertion and an enlarged heart.

Now a lawyer hired on behalf of the Abram family has sent a five-page letter to Ole Miss to let them know that they will be filing a $10 million lawsuit against the school. Mississippi law states that a 90-day notice has to be sent before filing any suit. Gene Egdorf, a lawyer from Lanier Law Firm, had this to say in a press release.

“Student-athletes shouldn’t be dying because of sickle cell,” Egdorf said. “The only reason that it turns fatal is because someone along the way made mistakes or intentionally disregarded the well-established guidelines for training, monitoring, and treating these student-athletes.”

Egdorf alleges that Ole Miss held "recklessly intense" workouts on the morning of Abram's death.

Ole Miss did not release a comment on the lawsuit.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 3:00 pm

Minister threatens to sue ESPN over documentary

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you're a sports fan, then I'm guessing at some point over the last year you tuned in to at least one of ESPN's 30 for 30 series of documentaries.  Personally, I watched just about all of them, and most were fantastic.  Still, the ones that stood out the most for me were the ones on college football.  In particular, The Best That Never Was, about former Oklahoma running back Marcus Dupree.

It was a fascinating story, and one that definitely had a villain.  That villain being Dupree's advisor/agent, Rev. Kenneth Fairley.  It was portrayed in the documentary that Fairley had helped steer Dupree away from Oklahoma following his freshman season and to Southern Miss. Dupree then made the ill-fated decision to go to the USFL.

In the documentary, Dupree says that the contract he signed with the USFL's New Orleans franchise was for $6 million, though he only saw about $300,000. Dupree also implied that Fairley may not have been all that honest with him when it came to handling the money.  Well, Fairley didn't appreciate it very much, and now he's threatening to sue the cable goliath.
The Rev. Kenneth Fairley, pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, has demanded a retraction and issued a notice to sue ESPN, the Bristol, Conn.-based cable sports network that aired the documentary.
"Since the airing of The Best That Never Was..., Rev. Fairley is inundated with claims that he stole millions of dollars from Dupree. The information contained in ESPN's documentary is false and should be retracted," Fairley's attorney, Lisa Ross, wrote in the letter dated Dec. 24 to ESPN's legal office.
Diane Lamb, an ESPN spokeswoman, said Wednesday the company isn't going to comment about the letter.

Ross also went on to say that ESPN has ten days to "broadcast a full and fair correction, apology and retraction" for airing the documentary.

Sounds like the actions of somebody who ran out of Dupree's money to me.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com