Protecting the trademark | Arkansas Blog

Protecting the trademark

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The NY Times has an interesting article with local resonance. It's about the University of Alabama suing an artist who sells paintings depicting famous moments in Alabama football. Stupid move by Bama, in any case.

But this case could provide some sound guidance on Arkansas's even stupider move to crack down on a fan who made some T-shirts complaining about Coach Houston Nutt. The UA claimed it had rights on making anything relating to Hog football, including Nutt's image. A relevant passage on the case in Alabama:

Mr. Moore has asked Judge R. David Proctor of the Federal District Court in Birmingham to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds. His brief cited a decision of the federal appeals court in California ruling that a trademark owner “does not have the right to control public discourse” if “the public imbues his mark with a meaning.”

After the citation, Mr. Moore’s lawyer, Stephen D. Heninger, added a parenthetical aside. “Who could argue with a straight face,” he asked, “that the cultural significance of Alabama football has not assumed such a role?”

 

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