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Logo re-use


random_ax

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I use a logo for my fantasy football team that I "borrowed" from a defunct team in one of those women's pro basketball leagues.... it was the Chicago Condors. I don't use it to make money so I would assume I can use it since it's only some 12-man rinky-dink fantasy league.

Anyway, I wondered if some new pro team ever wanted to re-use that logo...would it be legal? Is there a limit on how long a team owns the rights to a logo after the team ceases to function? Since the team is no longer operating, do they give up the rights to the logo or does it revert back to the artist/designer? I saw a baseball team called the Cleveland Condors using the Chiocago Condor logo except they had re-colored it to match the Celeveland team's color scheme...would that be legal? Perhaps it all depends on the individual logo and deal. Anyone know?

I also see a lot of semi-pro teams and high school teams using pro football logos and some are altered in color etc but you can tell it's the Tampa Bay Buccaneer logo (for instance) or maybe even the old Bucco Bruce logo...... has anyone ever seen a case where the NFL went after these semi-pro or high school teams or are they not concerned at that level?

I'll hang up and listen to your answer........

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I'm not a lawyer, but I read a lot of their threads here.

If teams don't protect their logo, they lose the rights to it.

As for defunt teams, ownership of the logos is a corporate asset, same as the uniforms and letterhead. It gets sold when the other assets are disbursed (the artist doesn't get it back - he's already been paid for it). And then, if it is not renewed, it passes into the public domain and anybody can use it, which means that no pro team can own it which means that no pro team will use it.

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I don't know how ironic that really is (unless you mean the Alanis Morissette definition of the word, which is "not actually ironic at all, just kind of a bummer" :P ).

Teams want to control their identities. To that end, they need a logo that signifies their team alone. They can't have exclusive use of a public-domain logo, so why would they want to use it?

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I use a logo for my fantasy football team that I "borrowed" from a defunct team in one of those women's pro basketball leagues.... it was the Chicago Condors. I don't use it to make money so I would assume I can use it since it's only some 12-man rinky-dink fantasy league.

Anyway, I wondered if some new pro team ever wanted to re-use that logo...would it be legal? Is there a limit on how long a team owns the rights to a logo after the team ceases to function? Since the team is no longer operating, do they give up the rights to the logo or does it revert back to the artist/designer? I saw a baseball team called the Cleveland Condors using the Chiocago Condor logo except they had re-colored it to match the Celeveland team's color scheme...would that be legal? Perhaps it all depends on the individual logo and deal. Anyone know?

I also see a lot of semi-pro teams and high school teams using pro football logos and some are altered in color etc but you can tell it's the Tampa Bay Buccaneer logo (for instance) or maybe even the old Bucco Bruce logo...... has anyone ever seen a case where the NFL went after these semi-pro or high school teams or are they not concerned at that level?

I'll hang up and listen to your answer........

Even a defunct team can protect their naming rights & logos for years after the fold (ie; Ottawa Rough riders), there is no time limit until they decide to let it go.

As for the semi-pro/college/high schools using recoloured/retouched pro logos - you bet the original owner can go after them. Prime example is Raytown South H.S. Cardinals. They were using ISU's logo for years, until ISU noticed & issued a "Stop & Desist" order for copyright infringement.

It's totally up to the trademark owner whether they want to sue or not.... and the courts will completely back them.

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Even if you were using a currently protected logo, just for your fantasy team, you could probably claim fair use, as long as you aren't selling or mass producing anything. The basic idea behind trademark law is to avoid consumer confusion. It is not always whether you make money that determines it, but whether or not you have damaged the public perception of the protected mark. If you took an NFL logo, tweaked a few things, and uploaded it to ESPN's fantasy servers, nobody would come after you, since a) hardly anyone else would see it, and B) no one would think you were somehow affiliated with that NFL team.

That being said, if you wanted to get a t-shirt or something made with "your" logo on it, you might not be able to, since companies that print custom graphics have strict trademark policies. Even they likely wouldn't get in trouble just making 1, or even 20 shirts for you, but they can't be sure you won't turn around and sell them to the public. It is mostly a way of covering themselves and avoiding any potential issues.

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I don't know how ironic that really is (unless you mean the Alanis Morissette definition of the word, which is "not actually ironic at all, just kind of a bummer" :P ).

Teams want to control their identities. To that end, they need a logo that signifies their team alone. They can't have exclusive use of a public-domain logo, so why would they want to use it?

Yeah, if you look at it that way, it's not really ironic, it just makes sense - but that's counting the ability to have exclusive rites to the logo as the only criteria for its desirability.

But an obscure old logo that is not well known could be usable in the sense that it's a nice logo and could easily be associated with the team re-using it, in every sense but a legal one. It's desirable aesthetically, available legally to use, but undesirable financially for the very reason that it is available legally...I still think there's some irony to that.

I don't think it's on an Alanis Morrissette level of not being ironic!

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Exclusive rights is only one of the criteria, but it's a huge criteria.

Why would a pro team want to use a logo that anybody could put on shirts and sell? Whether we like it or not, merchandising is a huge part of sport.

"A nice logo and could easily be associated with the team re-using it" are two of the factors that a team would have to consider. Unfortunately "and not with any other team or entity" is the missing part of the sentence, and no public domain logos need apply.

If there was a currently-unused logo that could be purchased from a defunct team, that would be worth a pro team's time.

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Ok, sorry to butt in but I am a little confused. I have a question.

My son is on a 10yr old's baseball team named North Texas Blue Thunder or NT Blue Thunder.

We saw the logo that the Trenton Thunder http://www.trentonthunder.com/

is using and we like it. If you notice the logo at the center of this website does not have a trademark symbol. And neither do some of the variations that they use.

Do you think we would get in trouble for using it for our team?

This is the trademarked logo

Blue Thunder Logo

I would want to change this to say "North Texas Blue Thunder".

I'm not so sure how they can trademark this logo. Blue Thunder Script Logo

Seems pretty generic but I don't know that much about this stuff.

I can understand this one being trademarked but we would still like to use it.

Blue Thunder Logo

I emailed them today and asked if we could use it. They have these shirts for Little League for sale on their website.

http://www.trentonthunder.com/store/catalo...eLeagueUniforms

Need some opinions. Is it just "Wrong" to use this logo? What about a variation of it?

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Ok, sorry to butt in but I am a little confused. I have a question.

My son is on a 10yr old's baseball team named North Texas Blue Thunder or NT Blue Thunder.

We saw the logo that the Trenton Thunder http://www.trentonthunder.com/

is using and we like it. If you notice the logo at the center of this website does not have a trademark symbol. And neither do some of the variations that they use.

Do you think we would get in trouble for using it for our team?

This is the trademarked logo

Blue Thunder Logo

I would want to change this to say "North Texas Blue Thunder".

I'm not so sure how they can trademark this logo. Blue Thunder Script Logo

Seems pretty generic but I don't know that much about this stuff.

I can understand this one being trademarked but we would still like to use it.

Blue Thunder Logo

I emailed them today and asked if we could use it. They have these shirts for Little League for sale on their website.

http://www.trentonthunder.com/store/catalo...eLeagueUniforms

Need some opinions. Is it just "Wrong" to use this logo? What about a variation of it?

All that matters is what the team says at this point. Asking permission is the key. It would be wrong if you were to just use the logo or go against their express wishes -- even if it is a variation of the logo.

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All that matters is what the team says at this point. Asking permission is the key. It would be wrong if you were to just use the logo or go against their express wishes -- even if it is a variation of the logo.

Right. 97.6 times out of 100, if you simply write someone in the team's leadership (i.e., their owner preferably, but maybe the President, VP of Marketing, etc.), explain to them what you'd like to do, emphasize that it's not for profit, etc., they'll let you use it. Don't ask their permission however, and you open yourself up to potential liability.

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Here's the response I got from Trenton Thunder. I sent her a reply asking her what her position is with the team.

________________________________________

From: Caitlin [mailto:caitlin@trentonthunder.com]

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 2:19 PM

To: 'Wayne'

Subject: RE: Thunder Logo

Hi Wayne,

I apologize that I can not allow you to use our logo for your uniforms. However, we do offer a 15% discount to little league teams ordering 12 items or more if you would be interested in purchasing from us. This is the link to the Thunder Company Store. Please let me know if you are interested in ordering anything.

Thanks!

Caitlin

From: Wayne [mailto:wayne@foleytx.com]

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 3:00 PM

To: Caitlin

Subject: Re: Thunder Logo

We we?re wanting to use it on our uniform.

Not for sale. Just for the kids.

Thanks so much.

Wayne

Sent from my iPhone

On May 11, 2009, at 9:09 AM, "Caitlin" <caitlin@trentonthunder.com> wrote:

Hi Wayne,

Thank you for you interest in the Trenton Thunder. In what capacity would you like to use our logo for? The Thunder can give permission for the logo to be used on a banner or a poster, but we do not give permission for our logo to be used on any t-shirt, hat, or novelty item made for retail or promotional use. Please write me back and I will follow up.

Thanks!

Caitlin

________________________________________

From: Bill Cook [mailto:bill@trentonthunder.com]

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 9:15 AM

To: 'Caitlin'

Subject: FW: Thunder Logo

________________________________________

From: Susanna Hall [mailto:susanna@trentonthunder.com]

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 9:08 AM

To: bill@trentonthunder.com

Subject: FW: Thunder Logo

From: Wayne [mailto:wayne@foleytx.com]

Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2009 6:48 PM

To: susanna@trentonthunder.com

Subject: Thunder Logo

Hello, I?m not sure who to contact but I saw your email address on the website.

I was trying to see if we could use the Thunder logo for my son?s Pony League (similar to little league). It is a 9-10yr old team.

How can I go about getting permission to do this?

Thanks so much.

Wayne Foley

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Yeah; odds are if they didn't make them available for sale in some form, they'd have let you do it. But since they have an avenue to squeeze another dollar, they're going for it if they can.

Can't disagree more.

It's not about them selling or not selling a product, it's about protecting their intellectual property.

They don't want to bother licensing their logo to youth groups. Makes sense to me. So they can't let him make his own shirts. Now, they can't stop a team from buying a bunch of shirts and wearing them on the field. That's the difference. And just to show that they're not mean-spirited about it, they'll give him a discount.

That they sell the shirts just mean that they're giving him a work-around to get by the "no-licensing" policy.

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