13 November 2015Trademarks

Indianapolis Colts accused of ‘12th man’ foul play

Texas A&M University has sued the National Football League (NFL) team the Indianapolis Colts for using the term ‘12th man’ to promote merchandise.

The complaint, filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of Houston yesterday, November 12, was  provoked by the NFL team's sale of tickets to its matches using the phrase ‘Join the 12th man’ in July 2015.

The university, whose football team is called the Texas A&M Aggies, owns three US registered trademarks for ‘12th man’.

According to th e complaint, the use of the term to promote its merchandise online and to sell tickets infringes the university’s intellectual property. The education institute is requesting damages.

“We would prefer not to file lawsuits to protect our trademarks. However, when our IP, especially the ‘12th man’ mark, which is so important to our students and former students, is used without permission after repeated attempts to engage on the matter, we are left with no choice,” said Michael Young, president of the university, in a statement published yesterday.

In 2006, the university settled a dispute with another NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks, after it granted a licence to use the ‘12th man’ mark.

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More on this story

23 February 2016   National Football League team the Indianapolis Colts has agreed to end its use of the term ‘12th man’ after reaching a settlement with Texas A&M University.