The NFL has a habit of zealously defending its various trademarks and logos. The league has landed in a legal issue over an effort to defend trademarks and logos when no trademarks or logos were being used.
The Dimopoulos Law Firm has sued the NFL, in response to a cease-and-desist letter threatening “heightened legal penalties” over a commercial including Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby in a silver and black uniform that does not include any logos or trademarks owned by the league or the Raiders.
The lawsuit, which can be seen here, seeks a declaratory judgment (in English, a ruling that the NFL is wrong and the law firm is right) on the question of whether the commercial crosses the line into infringement.
The firm began using the commercial last month. On February 22, NFL Properties allegedly sent a cease-and-desist letter vowing to file a lawsuit against the law firm.
In the commercial, Crosby wears a black football jersey with silver letters and numbers. No names or logos (other than “Crosby”) can be seen. He also has a silver helmet with no logo.
The league demanded a response by March 1. It got one, in the form of the lawsuit.
Is this potentially a Slippin’ Jimmy-style effort by the Dimopoulos Law Firm to get a little free publicity? Sure. But so what? The NFL threatened the firm with a fight, and the firm decided to take the fight to the NFL.
Thus, the story is significant — even if it also gives the Dimopoulos firm some organic attention that it possibly didn’t expect when hiring Crosby to appear in the commercial.