Archive for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jury to resume deliberations Thursday morning in KU’s trademark dispute with T-shirt maker

A federal lawsuit that pits KU against a Lawrence T-shirt company is in the hands of a jury tonight.

July 9, 2008, 1:05 p.m. Updated July 9, 2008, 6:39 p.m.

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On the street

Do you think Joe-College.com’s T-shirt designs infringe upon the business trademark of Kansas University or harm the school’s image?

I would say no. I don’t see any Jayhawks or even any with KU on them. I live in Wichita and see plenty of shirts that are worse than those.

More responses

— A federal jury Wednesday started deliberations in Kansas University's lawsuit against Lawrence T-shirt seller Larry Sinks, whom school officials accuse of producing sometimes offensive T-shirts that look too much like official KU merchandise.

KU and its trademark enforcement arm Kansas Athletics Inc. allege Sinks' T-shirts infringe on KU's registered trademarks and harm the school's reputation.

KU has asked the eight-member jury to order Sinks to pay KU $509,000 - $476,000 in profits from the T-shirts and $33,000 in royalties - and to assess an unspecified amount in punitive damages against Sinks and Clark Orth, who operates a screen printing business that produces Sinks' shirts for sale at Joe-College.com, 734 Mass., and the company's Web site.

"KU's marks are strong and famous, and the defendants intentionally used those to make a buck," said Charlie Henn, an attorney representing KU.

But Sinks and his attorney, Jim Tilly, portrayed a different story.

Sinks said he went to great lengths to inform customers that his T-shirts were not official KU merchandise.

"We've done as much as I can think possible," Sinks said before U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson.

He said he has more than 200 signs in his shop informing customers that the shirts are not licensed by KU and that none of the money to purchase the shirts goes to KU.

Sinks said he was trying to establish a niche market that included T-shirts that KU would never approve, such a "Muck Fizzou" and "Our Coach Can Eat Your Coach."

Sinks' attorney said KU was trying to monopolize the marketplace so that everyone attending a KU event would be wearing official KU merchandise.

"Freedom in the marketplace is one of the great things that made this country great," Tilly said in urging the jury to reject KU's claims.

But Henn also argued that many of Sinks' T-shirts have tarnished the school's image because some believe the offending messages are sponsored or affiliated with KU. He cited the "Muck Fizzou" shirt as among those with "vile comments."

But Tilly said "Muck Fizzou" has been in the marketplace since 1982 and he didn't understand why it has become an issue for KU when Sinks was selling it.

The jury was given more than 60 specific instructions that took Judge Robinson more than an hour to read. In those instructions, it was noted that KU had registered trademarks on such words as Kansas, KU, Jayhawks, The Phogg, Allen Fieldhouse, Rock Chalk Jayhawk and others.

Afterward, KU associate athletics director Jim Marchiony said KU supported free speech but that Sinks' T-shirts "had crossed the line."

But Tilly said universities nationwide are filing similar court cases, trying to gain monopolies because the sale of merchandise has become extremely lucrative.

"This is a watershed case," he said.

Mark Fagan contributed information for this story.

Comments

rocksolid 6 years, 9 months ago

Remember the Home Depot vs. the Old Home Depot suit ?I guess I could get these shirts confused as well(sarcasm) Should have trade marked" Party like its 1988" in March oh well missed the boat on that one. Congrats LJW finally get to read about this trial in Lawrence.

MLBaseball 6 years, 9 months ago

Ok so if KU is suing Joe college over the use of the word hawk do the have plans to sue the University of Iowa for than numerous number of T-shirts with the work hawk? Why not K-sate because they use the word Kansas, why not the Cubs because they use the same color blue. I swear if KU wins this suit I will...ok I got nothing, but I won't be happy.

Bone777 6 years, 9 months ago

For one the few times this year....KU loses.Larry, When this is over, KU should have you come speak on Capitalism.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 9 months ago

KU will lose, but those shirts are lewd and beneath us all."Their shirts are way cooler and more affordable than anything the University offers."WRONG. Muck Fizzou belongs IN Missouri.

jackpot 6 years, 9 months ago

isn't K.U. a state college? So are we the tax payers footing the bill? This maybe is about the font used by Larry for the letter "K". I can't think the color blue is the same. I think this started when Lew saw his first M.U. vs K.U. game. He saw all the "MUCK FIZZOU" shirts and found out "K.U." got no money from the selling of the shirt. I just hope K.A.I. is not funded by my tax money. I hate to see the way Kansas can think of ways to waste tax money.

Bone777 6 years, 9 months ago

"KU officials say some of Sinks' shirts have offensive meanings that reflect poorly on KU.".I am much more embarrassed by White Owl...

Ken Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

Or maybe:"Joe College Just Ate Your University Legal Team"

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

Folks, here is what I believe this litigation is about:.I've not read the pleadings, but under state law, KU could argue they are attempting to protect themselves against unfair competition, particularly where there is a specific interest to be protected such as customer "goodwill". The law in this area is very unfriendly to attempts to: 1) Pass yourself off as another-e.g. "Dimple Donuts" rather than "Dunkin Donuts", 2) Diluting, e.g. Minnie and Mickey in an adult movie, and 3) Misappropriation-taking something like a logo or identifying mark and using it as your own.Under the concept of invasion of privacy the law also recognizes the right to the economic value of one's image. This concept is grounded in the law of privacy and unfair competition laws and is intended to protect identity against commercial exploitation. Keep in mind an identity can be defined to include your name or image, your voice, your nickname or any other thing by which an individual is recognized by others. While as "laika" and "fleeba" noted above, some wording can be protected as "free" speech, don't disregard the fact there will likely be non-Jayhawks on the jury. How will they view such "free" speech?Under Federal law, if dealing with trademarked materials the issue most likely arising here is that KU believes Joe College is infringing. The primary concern is whether Joe College's use of certain markings, colors, words, etc. are likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception as to the source or origin of the goods and services. Again, the goal is protecting the expectation of customers that particular goods and services come from an identified and expected source.Who knows how the jury will rule? I certainly don't, but I doubt they will hear any evidence on or be instructed on the relative differences in wealth, whether KU would sue student groups or any factors other than the law.

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

There can't be too much of an argument for dilution/trademark infringement... I can't find the link for it (post it, someone, if you can) but LJW ran a story a while back about how there are three or four high schools that use the jayhawk as a mascot, in nearly identical form, and I'd wager a guess that not a damn one of them is paying royalties for it.

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

"jackpot (Anonymous) says: I hate to see the way Kansas can think of ways to waste tax money."Yet, it's the fact that Larry refuses to pay a licensing fee to KU that is the basis of the lawsuit. So you all cheer the guy that is beating the system and screwing the university out of money that would be going to help keep tution down, but bitching about the cost of tuition and increased taxes, etc.

Reaper2K 6 years, 9 months ago

"Muck Fizzou" infringes "on the business trademark of Kansas University"? How exactly is that? I'd love to hear their logic on that. I think KU is getting greedy because they didn't think up these great t-shirts first.

MrMister 6 years, 9 months ago

Using the dilution argument posted above by bad_dog, I would believe that Mizzou, K-State, and Roy Williams would have more right to sue that KU does. The negative comments are directly aimed at them rather than just implied as the link to KU.

laika 6 years, 9 months ago

"I agree with KU on this one. It's embarrassing to see KU fans on TV wearing shirts that say "i sh*t purple!" in big letters."Perhaps it's embarrassing to you, but that isn't a legal argument as to how this store infringing on the Universities trademarks. Plus, I would assume that shirts message is protected speech.

wysiwyg69 6 years, 9 months ago

good luck Larry. I hope you win and then make a fortune off of their stupidity

kujayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Can Lew sue me for using trajon font in an e-mail? Good god, I hope he doesn't sue me for my username.

Chrissy Neibarger 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't this considered freedom of speech?If KU won this one, that would open the door to too many things.What about the signs that people hold up at the games, will they sue over those as well???

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

"Perhaps it's embarrassing to you, but that isn't a legal argument as to how this store infringing on the Universities trademarks."I wasn't addressing the legal issue, but rather agreeing with KU's point that the shirts reflect poorly on KU.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

there are three or four high schools that use the jayhawk as a mascot, in nearly identical form, and I'd wager a guess that not a damn one of them is paying royalties for it.=========You would lose that wager. From the story:"For the right to use the Jayhawk name or mascot, KU is compensated, said KU Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony.The licensing fee is the nominal sum of $1 per year, he said."http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/apr...

hairshoptalk 6 years, 9 months ago

no one can own a color or letters. know wonder tuition cost so much! all the students are paying legal fees for this hilarious trial.

Horace 6 years, 9 months ago

Judge Robinson is a pretty sharp lady. Hopefully the jury will rule in Lary's favor or he gets a jnov.

short_one 6 years, 9 months ago

hail2oldku: does trademark money go to KU tuition fund (general operating dollar) or to athletic dept? THe argument that trademark money goes to tuition would suggest that tuition should be going down based on the large number of KU shirts bought this year (Orange bowl and nat'l championship)...

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

short_one - I do not know if the licensing money goes into the general fund or if it goes into the scholarship fund. Either way it contributes, in a small way, towards tuition.

Matthew Goble 6 years, 9 months ago

I disagree with many of the shirts that Larry's store sells, but I believe in his right to sell them. Justice will prevail in this case.

Chrissy Neibarger 6 years, 9 months ago

Haiku_Cuckoo (Anonymous) says:"no one can own a color or letters."From Owens-Corning:"The 'Owens Corning' logo, the color pink, cultured stone, and other trademarks identified with a ® in these documents are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Owens Corning Intellectual Capital."You read it right, "the color pink".====================================or.. how about this one:Published by UPS Brand Management. © 2003 United Parcel Service of America, Inc.UPS, the UPS brandmark and the color brown are registered trademarks of United Parcel Service of America, Inc. All rights"The color Brown"

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, to the couple of lawyers/law students I know frequent this board, but couldn't an argument be made that these shirts are protected speech on the grounds of parody of a public figure/entity?

Justin Roberts 6 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if KU would sue a student group if they printed the same t-shirt to make money for an underfunded program that KU cut out of the budget?

KU_Dude 6 years, 9 months ago

Should the people that use KU in their usernames pay the university for that right?I hope I don't owe them any money.

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

Haiku_Cuckoo (Anonymous) says:"KU officials say some of Sinks' shirts have offensive meanings that reflect poorly on KU."I agree with KU on this one. It's embarrassing to see KU fans on TV wearing shirts that say "i sh*t purple!" in big letters.========================That's more a reflection on the typical KU fan than it is of Sink's t shirts. Don't blame him for the crassness of KU students and alumni. They are the ones that willfully choose to purchase and wear them.

Bud Stagg 6 years, 9 months ago

I think Larry has the right to sell them. Some of his shirts are very clever. There are other shirts that we should have more class than to wear. I've always thought we were a classy school. Muck Fizzou was clever for about a minute, now it's just vulgar. I think Larry, fans, and students of KU could come up with something better to wear than that. In my opinion, a t-shirt like that is something an MU graduate would wear, they don't have any class.

fu7il3 6 years, 9 months ago

There are definately some trademark issues going on. The shirts intentionally associate with KU. Any other trademark would create the same issues.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Our coach can eat your coach. Just ask John "Candy" Madden or Bill Parcells.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

"no one can own a color or letters."From Owens-Corning:"The 'Owens Corning' logo, the color PINK, CULTURED STONE, and other trademarks identified with a ® in these documents are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Owens Corning Intellectual Capital."You read it right, "the color pink".

Ken Miller 6 years, 9 months ago

When Larry wins, he should immediately come out with a new t-shirt:"Joe College Can Eat Your Athletic Director"

Spring_2 6 years, 9 months ago

This is completely ridiculous! KU is just pissy that Joe College is making money on their shirts. Sorry KU that everyone who wants to cheer on KU doesn't want to spend $30+ on a stupid t-shirt. Let's recall the Mass Street Bonanza, I am guessing 85% of people on Mass was supporting a Joe College shirt, because they are hilarious and anyone who walks in there can find a shirt to suit their mood for a particular game. I think it is simply stupid that KU is being such --------- about this. Get over it you make enough in tuition from every student that attends KU to let Joe College go on it's merry way to produce the best shirts in Lawrence. Rock Chalk Larry! Give the man a break he is just trying to make a living like everyone else.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

"KU officials say some of Sinks' shirts have offensive meanings that reflect poorly on KU."I agree with KU on this one. It's embarrassing to see KU fans on TV wearing shirts that say "I SH*T PURPLE!" in big letters.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

"You sh*t purple? Wow-you ought to have that checked out!"My thoughts exactly whenever I see an idiot wearing that shirt on TV. LOL!

packs_of_wild_dogzz 6 years, 9 months ago

Their shirts are way cooler and more affordable than anything the University offers.

misslawrence 6 years, 9 months ago

The whole Eastside of Lawrence is backing up Larry all tha way!!!!!!!! Get 'em Larry......I'm wearing my shirt right now!! the "ROY WHO" one.......

countrygirl 6 years, 9 months ago

You sh*t purple? Wow--you ought to have that checked out!

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

d_prowess:Yes, failing to protect your rights can constitute a waiver of your legal ability to protect them.

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

I have no affiliation with the university other than the diploma that hangs on my wall at home logic.I believe we went through this exercise with the original thread, but in your #2 above you fail to address that if JC was licensed then Larry would be sending money to KU.Don't get me wrong, I think some of his shirts are quite creative. Others are beyond crass though and as I did mention in the discussion on the earlier story there are people that I know who attended either the school to our east or the one to our west who have seen the shirts on the street and ask me how KU condones the sale of the shirts so there is a fairly obvious confusion being caused by Larry and that is where the trademark infringement comes into play.I really couldn't care less which side wins this thing. Though if KU does win then jackpot won't have to worry about it costing the taxpayers because Larry will probably be hit with paying attorney's fees as well.

Kent Fisher 6 years, 9 months ago

There obviously is some degree of trademark infrigement here, as he admittedly is marketing these off of KU athletics. However, free speech may win out here. Tough call, although, the feds wouldn't have tried this case if they weren't going to win.

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

misslawrence (Anonymous) says: K.U. is just pissed that it doesn't receive any "endowment" for their fund::and Pi&ed that Larry is from the Eastside:.and that "our" side of town keeps it real!!! just because they flanagle about 'getting money':.sorry a% people!!!! hang in there larry!!!!!!!!!!! we got your back:::..so what if you have more 'street smarts' than the stuffy a*% rich white folks! hehehe,,,:(while you're white yourself!)::.it's all good from tha poor people!!!!!!Larry isn't even from the "eastside" of Alvamar. The dude's house was listed for sale at $1.5 million last year and is located smack dab in the middle of the homes on the Private Side of Alvamar. Larry is about as "real" as a three dollar bill.

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 6 years, 9 months ago

If KU wins, can they print shirts with "Sinks is SUNK"?Sinks is profitting off of the blood, sweat and tears of the athletes. That makes him a leech.A few of his shirts are funny, but the majority are crass and designed to insight outrage in others. In other words, he's a T-shirt shock-jock. And the result is the degredation of the athletes and the university.I would rather invest in a licensed t-shirt that the cheap crap Sinks panders.

d_prowess 6 years, 9 months ago

I am not at all close to being a lawyer, but is there any legal reason/benefit for KU to pursue this lawsuit? Will it help them in the future if another company comes along and tries to do the same thing by showing a precedent for fighting this type of thing? I guess I am just wondering if they didn't try to stop Joe College, would that hurt them in a future case if someone was more blatant in their attempt to skirt paying a licensing fee. Any lawyers out there that have some insight on this type of thing?

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

I suspect that unless mizzzou or K-State have a licensed trademarked logo misappropriated or 'Ol Roy is defamed (don't forget-he's a "public figure" with less protection from "opinions") by Joe College, they wouldn't have adequate basis for a lawsuit.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

I concur that dilution and infringement appear to be the strongest allegations KU can make.I too have only a passing interest in this matter, however, don't forget that whether or not you like KU, or believe they are money grubbers keeping the "little man" down, they are the institution with the reputation and tradition that creates the market for such T-shirts. The marketabililty creates the value institutions seek to protect through licensing products. Without the reputation and tradition of KU to draw upon Joe College would be relegated to places like Columbia, MO. Me? I'd rather pay the licensing fee... twice.

misslawrence 6 years, 9 months ago

K.U. is just pissed that it doesn't receive any "endowment" for their fund......and Pi&ed that Larry is from the Eastside....and that "our" side of town keeps it real!!! just because they flanagle about 'getting money'....sorry a% people!!!! HANG IN THERE LARRY!!!!!!!!!!! WE GOT YOUR BACK...........so what if you have more 'street smarts' than the stuffy a*% rich white folks! hehehe,,,...(while you're white yourself!).......it's all good from tha poor people!!!!!!

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 9 months ago

"Uh:.when did Jim Marchiony become the judge of when "free speech" crosses the line?"Probably as soon as he saw some idiot at a KU game wearing a shirt that said "I Bleed Crimson and Blue, therefore I Sh*t Purple!".That doesn't even make sense. Why would blood color determine the color of one's waste? If it said, "I eat crimson and blue..." that would make more sense, physically. Either way it's embarrassing to see people wearing shirts like that to KU games.

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

Anonymous userHaiku_Cuckoo (Anonymous) says:there are three or four high schools that use the jayhawk as a mascot, in nearly identical form, and I'd wager a guess that not a damn one of them is paying royalties for it.=========You would lose that wager.From the story:"For the right to use the Jayhawk name or mascot, KU is compensated, said KU Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony.The licensing fee is the nominal sum of $1 per year, he said."http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/apr/02:=======================================So, in other words, JC has grounds to argue that it too should pay only a $1/year licensing fee, or else has a claim that KU is discriminating against it? Sounds good to me... Larry, I'll even pay the dollar for you for 2008.

Brandi Simpson-Glover 6 years, 9 months ago

I think Lew Perkins is just a greedy man and that Larry Sinks has every right to sell the shirts without having to pay KU for it-he does not use their logo or name. I love the shirts-they are very unique and whenever I wear mine, even in other towns/states, I come across people that like them too and want to know where they come from(so I give them the website). Some people may think that a few are vulgar or not tasteful-then you don't need to buy those certain ones but just remember-there IS someone who does like it and who will wear it! I wish Larry the best of luck and I hope that KU and Lew Perkins end up having to pay for all of his court costs, attorney's fees, etc...

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

A thought occurs to me, that KU seems to be trying to suck money out of a lot of people this year... the Chamber of Commerce, for example.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

So, in other words, JC has grounds to argue that it too should pay only a $1/year licensing fee, or else has a claim that KU is discriminating against it? Sounds good to me: Larry, I'll even pay the dollar for you for 2008.No, this means KU has the right to set and collect any licensing fee the market will bear. There's no discrimination here. I believe the reason KU permits schools to use their logo is because they are schools and KU probably limits their usage dramatically, i.e on a non-profit basis. It may even constitute free advertising for KU. Keep your dollar, you might need it.

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

You beat me to it bad-dog.Cali definitely knows too many details to not be "affiliated" somehow.Maybe he/she can help Yellowhouse prove their conspiracy when this trial is over.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

Third_Wave:Where should I begin? Let me start at the end. The "common sense" you refer to at the end of your post flies in the face of long-established legal theories protecting property and the interests therein. That's why right or wrong-this case is in litigation; to protect the right KU believes is being infringed upon by Joe College. If they're wrong the jury will tell them so. If/where the case goes from there depends on the strengths of any potential appeals. So, where to next? Ah, history. I believe history is taught by teachers/professors-hopefully utilizing the collective body of knowledge available to them. While political or religious dogma can filter or otherwise affect the recitation of "history", its teaching methodology is certainly not dependent upon "symbols". What would a child actually learn about history from a cartoon depiction of a Jayhawk?Your example of Freestate High School is probably not the best choice either. I believe they were involved in at least the threat of litigation over their logo. Aside from that, they'd have a difficult time suing Freestate Brewing Company as the likelihood of confusion is probably nil and the brewing company had the name first.As for the amount of damages, let's say you had legal authority and protection to use your actual user name-Third_Wave via trademark. Now to your horror you notice someone else is posting using the name 3rd_Waive. Now 3rd_Waive starts posting what you consider to be objectionable sayings; supports liberals, creates public unrest and destroys the otherwise idyllic life you previously enjoyed in Lawrence because others read those posts and believe you posted that garbage. OK-so you send a "Cease and Desist" post to 3rd_Waive, but he/she just keeps on posting. Assuming you have a legally supportable claim and suffered damages as a result of 3rd_Waive's conduct, wouldn't you want to collect on those damages-an amount that is determined on the basis of the evidence presented during your "day in court"? Would you be entitled to punitive damages for the period of time 3rd _Waive ignored you and continued damaging your reputation following your "Cease and Desist" post on the basis this established intent to harm you? As for your disgust with Lew Perkins, many on this board (myself included) agree wholeheartedly for numerous reasons. Whether you want to make t-shirts expressing your disgust is up to you-just don't print them using or referencing the words/phrases "Kansas", Jayhawks, "Rock Chalk Jayhawks", "The Phog", "Allen Field House", "Kivisto Field", etc, without applying for and obtaining the necessary licensing. I could be wrong, but I doubt the license will be granted. Trust me, this is a close case and an interesting one on many levels. It won't, however, be decided on the basis of community affiliation and identification with the University, affection for a cartoon-like character, or dislike of Lew Perkins.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

Third_Wave...I truly hope I understand what is both important and relevant to both the situation and the community. Generally speaking, I like most things about Lawrence, KU, small businesses, entrepreneurial innovation, competition, fans, students, etc. The problem no matter how we look at it nevertheless arises from the interaction and resultant tension between some of these elements in our community. Epistemiology aside, intractable controversies must be addressed and this is how they are addressed-in our legal system. I wish it didn't have to come to an impasse either, but this is what happens in every city and in every court when people can't/won't get along, or disagree about the interpretation of a contract, where a property boundary should be, who gets custody, etc. Communities, no matter how you define them, operate with rules and regulations and they do so for good reason. Need. Old? Not so much-yet. Hopefully not too stuck in my ways either. Adaption is the key. Time will tell.Rock Chalk back at cha.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"Yes, failing to protect your rights can constitute a waiver of your legal ability to protect them."But "protecting" a right that you don't have won't do anything to protect rights you do have.

scottwildcat 6 years, 9 months ago

First off i'm a k-state fan make of it what you want but these shirts are hillarious and i love them. KU should stop being greedy they don't loose any business from it and the shirts are not confussed at all. No one should own a color or colors for t-shirts no one should own the word Hawk(s) its a generic name and no one at all should own the state name thats some bull you know what and if they go after joe-college what about some of these other storeshttp://www.jayhawkspirit.com/noncollegiate.html^^^^^here's a link to jayhawk spirit if ku goes after joe-college they should go after this store too

california 6 years, 9 months ago

Larry Sinks is degrading KU and will lose this case. The Feds aren't stupid--they don't sue if they don't believe they can win. Larry has never been what I would deem a "reputable" businessman. He's going down is my bet

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

I find it interesting that a number of post refer to the wearing of the "Muck Fizzou" shirts as being low class and making statements as "That belongs in Missouri" and "That's something a Missouri grad would wear, not KU because KU has class".Yet it's not the Missouri people that are wearing them is it? It's the KU people. You know, the supposedly classy ones.And before someone makes a lame response about me being a Missouri fan or something, I am not. In fact, I don't care for college sports at all.Here's hoping Joe College wins.

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

I stand by my contention that these shirts constitute parodies of a public institution and as such will be protected on free-speech grounds.

babyj10 6 years, 9 months ago

1) If Sinks argues that there is no confusion, then why does he need signs up that say he's not licensed? Obviously, there would be confusion otherwise. 2) The reason their shirts are cheaper are BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY ROYALTIES.3) Why should they be able to get away with selling shirts with the player's names on them (i.e. "Get it on with Sherron") when it is illegal (per NCAA rules) for everyone else?Joe College is a disgrace and they're not just harming KU; they're taking profits away from small shops like Jock's Nitch, Sports Dome, Jayhawk Bookstore, etc. I wish all the KU fans were classy enough not to buy such tasteless shirts.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 9 months ago

I didn't want to read through all these to get this cleared up...The lawsuit is being brought by Kansas Athletics, Inc., which is actually separate from the University. It gets public money from KU, but generates its own revenue. One would hope that these legal fees are not coming from public money, but who really knows?So, to say that taxpayers are footing the bill here is speculative at best.

Marcus DeMond 6 years, 9 months ago

If they donated 5% of all t-shirt sales to a KU charity or something, Would that have kept KU at bay?

Third_Wave 6 years, 9 months ago

Bad Dog-I think you are missing a few points. For example, I understand the theory behind the lawsuit, just as I understand the theory behind Liebeck V. McDonald's, but that doesn't mean I agree with bringing the suit to begin with.Also, I don't know where you are from, but here in Lawrence history is living. Shame on you to think that history can only be taught by academics. I personally believe that history can be "lived" daily depending on how you look at your surroundings. If you need an example of how history can be taught through the jayhawk please take a look at these.http://www.framewoodslawrence.com/zoom/Jayhawks-on-Parade-Card.jpghttp://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jayhawkbookstore.com/phpshop/shop_image/product/4993a3c276eee4f40afa8fc0cd1af8f7.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.jayhawkbookstore.com/phpshop/%3Fpage%3Dshop/browse%26category_id%3Da4e04275befcfb2708ab956997a41551&h=263&w=80&sz=12&hl=en&start=8&um=1&tbnid=JexUk_S8MfW1NM:&tbnh=112&tbnw=34&prev=/images%3Fq%3Devolution%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bjayhawk%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DGKansas, the Jayhawk, and our community ethos cannot be owned. Sure, legal, yes, someone could figure out who owns Lawrence's identity...but do we really want to put that in the hands of a specific group. Wouldn't it be better to solve this as a community? Call me idealistic, but maybe Lew and Larry could have set down before all this to figure it out. I feel like they didn't, I could be wrong.The idea that Joe College's t-shirts are somehow strictly related to the university as opposed to all of us in this town strikes me as confusing. This is why I don't think a lawsuit is appropriate in this case, and certainly not a lawsuit with such enormous financial penalties.Looking at the bigger picture outside of this community I hold dear, I believe our nation as a whole needs to seriously examine our compensation culture and take a look at tort law. Communities, not individuals, create good societies.

california 6 years, 9 months ago

Clarification: MOST Federal juries don't include folks that are stupid. KU wouldn't sue if they didn't think they had a strong case and could win. You never know with a jury trial...

california 6 years, 9 months ago

Whoever hasn't looked at Joe College website should; it may change your oulook:http://www.joe-college.com/catalog/Looks like Larry has his hands full. Shirts with slogans such as "Rock Chalk Baby"..., "Kansas--The birthplace of North Carolina Basketball," "Basketball U--Est. 1898, Lawrence, Kansas" are going to be hard to defend. And throw in the "Don't be Confused" link regarding not being licensed as well as 200 signs (200 SIGNS????) in his shop stating they aren't licensed, etc. and Larry knows he was/is skating on THIN ICE. But, that's Larry for ya.

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't think any awards have been handed out on this thread yet, but I nominate justsomewench's post at 7:03 today."Friends don't let friends type drunk."I don't care who you are. That there is funny.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

Third_Wave: I'm not going to waste a lot of time on this, however, your attempt to use the links above to support your position is somewhere along the continuum ranging from inanity to "Gee, I don't kbnow what else to say". The closest thing to history contained there is the (dare I say it?) "Jayhawk Evolution Runner".The legal system affords the opportunity to address and remedy the needs and rights of the individual, society and communities.I just hope you don't teach history or persuasive writing. And I wouldn't use the word "confusing" in your support of Joe College. The court might find that your position supports KU...

hairshoptalk 6 years, 9 months ago

haiku_cuckoo, so is it a shade of pink that they trademarked or the color pink in general? whats the owning benefit of o a color? do they get paid every time someone uses this color?

Silly_me 6 years, 9 months ago

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a lawyer, but I've consulted with lawyers on intellectual property issues as they pertain in the technical field..I answer technical questions as lawyers are formulating their case to make sure they have a good understanding of the state of the industry. I talked about this case to one of the lawyers I work with and he told me that KU may also be concerned regarding precedent. If KU doesn't do anything about Larry's business, which is borderline associating a product with KU, then they potentially allow a precedent to be set for somebody else to push the line a bit further. Companies or entities that have a strong brand image have to be very diligent about this or they could end up losing the exclusing right to their branding. Personally, I think some of the t-shirts are a hoot, but they definately draw upon an association with KU..that is the rub here.

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

I own many Joe College tshirts. I love them all. I actually sat in the courtroom when Marchiony testified that there is not one other store in Lawrence where you can get a Muck Fizzou shirt. He is such a liar. The next day I go into Jayhawk Spirit and they had not only that shirt, but they had ten other unlicensed shirts as well. Also, Jayhawk Bookstore had the Muck Fizzou shirt for sale. He claimed last night that he believes in freedom of speech. I'm sure he's lying about that as well. The only speech he believes in is whatever KU Athletic Director says. I think this whole thing is wrong!!!!!!

california 6 years, 9 months ago

"More likely, they think know can afford better lawyers for a longer time, and eventually win a war of attrition against Sinks."--Great point. It still spells a win for KU. Also, I thought that Babyj10 had a great point (#1 above).

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

cali or is it carrie?-no I haven't been attending the trial, however, the opinions I expressed above are only general statements of the law. Certainly not anything for you to get irritated over. And while you're busy postulating about "free speech", why don't you step back and let your fellow posters do so without remonstrations from you?You seem to know so many of the intimate details about the trial and are so interested in purchasing "eveidence" from other Mass Street merchants I'm beginning to get the impression you're married to the defendant. As for your concerns over other entities marketing the same merchandise, did it occur to you that perhaps they may be the next defendants in the event KU prevails in this litigation? And if you did in fact purchase a licensed "Muck Fizzou" t-shirt, you just made KU's point. They have the license and someone else is misappropriating it without paying for the right to use it. Larry Sinks apparently did enough research to recognize the fact he was in dangerous territory-thus the disclaimer signs all over the store. Despite this research he also either apparently failed to protect his own products or was legally unable to. Seems odd... You know "Joe College" isn't even an original name so I guess appropriating from others isn't exactly new to this business.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"KU wouldn't sue if they didn't think they had a strong case and could win."More likely, they think know can afford better lawyers for a longer time, and eventually win a war of attrition against Sinks.

jayharchitect 6 years, 9 months ago

Lawyers help me out... doesn't free speech in some ways go out the window when you are making profit from it?

VTHawk 6 years, 9 months ago

The color brown has become closely associated with UPS. The campaign "What can Brown do for you" is just one example. DHL can't just roll out brown DHL trucks and deliver packages. The jury will decide whether printing blue "Kansas" shirts infringes on KU's brand in a similar vein, to my understanding. Doesn't look good for Sinks.Owens Corning's TM prevents other companies from producing pink-colored insulation. The pink color allows OC to differentiate its products from other brands of insulation.

davidsmom 6 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely, it is KU's brand marketability that allows Mr. Sinks to sell his shirts. I agree there is confusion. I've seen a number of shirts that I now know were not affiliated with KU but thought they were at first, and they were embarrassing to see. I hate to think KU students are that classless. These shirts are part of what gives KU a bad reputation among our rivals. (And by the way, I've bought a bunch of legitimate KU T-shirts and didn't pay as much as $30 for any of them.) I If I was on the jury, it would be a slam-dunk. KU definitely wins this one.

Unix_Admin 6 years, 9 months ago

"Sinks is profitting off of the blood, sweat and tears of the athletes. That makes him a leech."==============================================What about the University and the NCAA? They have been profitting off these kids forever! And don't give me some crap about them getting a free ride to school, thats a lame argument. The NCAA Is maybe the biggest leach of them all!

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

"Yes, failing to protect your rights can constitute a waiver of your legal ability to protect them."-bad_dog"But "protecting" a right that you don't have won't do anything to protect rights you do have."-BozoThanks for that nugget, I think...Bozo, that's why we empanel a jury rather than depend on someone's opinion to determine the outcome of litigation. The jury has heard all the facts and evidence and been instructed in the law by the judge. Whether KU has anything to protect will ultimately be determined by the jury. Attempts to protect "non-existent" rights are typically dealt with in pre-trial Motions where the opposing party files a demurrer or 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss alleging the plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. If the litigation continues through the discovery phase either party can file a Motion for Summary Judgment. These Motions ask the Court to rule on the case at that time on the basis there is no issue as to any material fact and the Court can decide the case as a matter of law. Assuming the opposing party survives such Motions, the case goes to trial and the fact finder-in this case the jury, decides whether an actionable right exists and if the defendant harmed the interests of the plaintiff.And folks, this isn't about "the Feds" vs. Larry Sinks. This is KU-the corporate entity vs. Joe College-the smaller corporate entity, being tried in Federal District Court.Several of babyj10's points above are valid as is the issue raised by california regarding the Joe College website. While it remains to be seen whether a jury will agree, you can't credibly take the position Joe College isn't using certain words/phrases that KU can argue are protected and/or licensed."It is a good thing I am not a juror." notnowdearAfter reading your two posts above, I couldn't agree more...

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

like I said hail2oldku, if you don't know what you're talking about...

rocksolid 6 years, 9 months ago

Was that Sherron shirt made after the elevator encounter?

myarr 6 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

Gina - I don't think KU can print those shirts because they would have to ask Sinks if they can use his name. Maybe we shouldn't tell them that. Let them print it and then Sinks can sue KU!

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

"As for the next lawsuit - well, the guy from CLC already said on record that he would file a lawsuit 2 weeks ago on Jayhawk Spirit. I haven't seen that happen yet. Have you?"Maybe he's waiting for the outcome of this one. Precedence goes a long way towards helping BOTH sides decide if they want to pursue a lawsuit."like I said hail2oldku, if you don't know what you're talking about:"Or what? I know a little more than you might think cali so you may want to heed your own advice.

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

hail2oldku - Here is your wake up call. If you don't know the person or what you are talking about then you should keep your mouth shut! Larry is born and raised in Lawrence, KS...on the EAST side of town. He has worked his a*s off all his life to get that house that he has up in Alvamar. Do you really think that KU would have sued him if he didn't live there? WAKE UP!

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

No bad_dog the point is that KU DOES NOT own a trademark on the Muck Fizzou shirt but yet, their licensed vendor had it for sale as one. Seems to me that joe-college has made it very clear about what you are going to get when you walk into their store. Perhaps it is KU and Jayhawk Spirit that have confused the public. And wait, let me guess, you work up there on the hill or are you a lawyer since you know so much about the law? As for the next lawsuit - well, the guy from CLC already said on record that he would file a lawsuit 2 weeks ago on Jayhawk Spirit. I haven't seen that happen yet. Have you?

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

cali/carrie:KU may not hold a trademark on the "Muck Fizzou" t-shirt. If I were to speculate I'd guess that probably supports the fact they believe it is in poor taste and don't want that kind of material out there to reflect poorly on the University. I believe this even supercedes their desire to trademark and license a certain tactless albeit marketable saying, particularly given the Court found it has been around since the '80's.And no, I don't work up on the Hill, but I do play a lawyer on TV.

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

cali - I hope you're right about the judge not letting the evidence in for impeachment purposes -- that in and of itself constitutes reversible error and a ground for appeal if Larry loses.I think there's precedent for "grandfathering" in entities who take advantage of a trademark lapse, as well.

Kent Fisher 6 years, 9 months ago

What's next Lew, are you going to ask that the letters "k" and "u" not appear consecutively without official licensing?

dweezil222 6 years, 9 months ago

jayharchitect, it can't completely go out the window when profit is involved, or you wouldn't have some of the sensationalist books and such floating around out there. I think the ultimate determination will be that individuals have a right to parody public institutions and entities. For example, tshirthell.com has shirts clearly utilizing, at least as memory serves, the Skittles and Wal-mart logos, maybe a few others.

Third_Wave 6 years, 9 months ago

This whole thing disgusts me. Kansas and specifically Lawrence are extremely rich in history. We teach and celebrate that history through symbols like the red and blue "Jayhawk". The biggest celebrated symbol is obviously the university, but you can see the history is put on display everywhere and by everyone.(Imagine if we had real pictures of Jayhawks, bloodied from battle and looking for their next fight!!!)So let's put some perspective on this. How about Freestate High School decides that it is the one entity that owns the rights to the term Freestate and Lawrence's mythical Phoenix symbol. Should they go out and sue the brewery for their name, city hall for their statue, or anyone else. No...ludicrous.We all live in this town and celebrate the same things, but this..."KU has asked the eight-member jury to order Sinks to pay KU $509,000 - $476,000 in profits from the T-shirts and $33,000 in royalties - and to assess an unspecified amount in punitive damages"DiSgUsTiNg! Look into alternative dispute resolutions. A state funded Goliath like KU filing suit against a local member of the Lawrence community for coming up with a creative way to market what our common bond is in Lawrence. It doesn't matter if you don't like the shirts, we all have our rights to celebrate Lawrence in our own way.I want to thank Perkins for coming to KU and turning our athletic program into something special, but if you are going to ruin the spirit of my town, you can take your big athletics and get the hell out of dodge (Lawrence in this case).AgAiN, DiSgUsTiNg! If this lawsuit goes through, I plan on making my own t-shirts to express my disgust with Perkins. Of course, maybe he'll figure out a way to squash my ability to express myself as well.I hope common sense wins out in this legal battle and not the all mighty dollar. Slippery slope anyone???

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

bad_dog - you should follow the same advice I just gave hail2oldku. Have you been sitting in that Court room for the last couple of weeks? I think not. Therefore, you do not know what evidence has been let in by the Judge and what has not. Some of you all speak of the freedom of speech element...well she threw that out. Have you all taken a trip down Massachusetts Street to Jayhawk Spirit? Have you seen that they are copying the EXACT same shirts that Larry came up with...so let's see, they are selling licensed and UNlicensed merchandise right next to each other. As a matter of fact, I personally went in there and bought a Muck Fizzou shirt WITH A LICENSED STICKER ON IT just so I treasure forever what a bunch of idiots we have in the licensing department at KU. Paul V. and Jim M. should both lose their jobs over this deal. Paul testified on the stand that he had been in Jayhawk Spirit within the last 30 days and that there was NO unlicensed apparel being sold in there. Larry's attorney made the trip to Lawrence to see the store for himself. He ended up taking several shirts, license plates and stickers back for the Judge to see the next morning. She was ticked and that doesn't even begin to explain how she really felt. But did she allow the evidence in? NO! Larry didn't even want it in to show that other stores (including Jayhawk Bookstore) in the area are selling unlicensed apparel. He wanted it in to impeach the statements made by Paul V. and she still wouldn't consider it! Another thing that came out at trial is that Larry opened his store in Feb. 2006. Did you know that KU didn't have any trademarks at that time? To include the fact that they had let the Jayhawk trademark lapse! Larry's atty. says to Paul V., so Larry came up with the designs, did the artwork, printed the shirts, opened the store and THEN KU decided to trademark everything:and copy the designs? Paul's answer was yes. You should have seen the Jurors faces when Larry's atty. pointed that out. KU decided to trademark everything from May to August of 2006. Interesting...Is Larry getting a fair trial here? I think not! By the way, the Judge is a KU grad and her boss sits on the basketball floor with Lew Perkins at every home game. If anyone thinks this trial is anything but personal, you are way off.

cali 6 years, 9 months ago

Puggy - Larry is being sued by both the University of Kansas and the Kansas Athletics Dept. You are correct - they are separate, but they have both sued him. The taxpayers are footing the bill. And here is the best part - the money isn't even staying in KS. It is going to a lawfirm in Georgia! KU didn't even hire local counsel. I would estimate that KU's legal fees have to be at least $1 million on this case. They have 5 attorney's sitting in the courtroom.

gccs14r 6 years, 9 months ago

If it's KU Athletics bringing the suit, as a private corporation, how do they have standing? KU is a State institution, and as such should have no right to assign rights to its name or imagery to a third party. I would think only the Legislature could do that, and unless they have, KUAC shouldn't "own" the color, name, font, or anything else related to KU that they claim.

Third_Wave 6 years, 9 months ago

Big-Dog,You still don't seem to understand what is important to this situation or to our community. Perhaps a lesson in epistemology would do you some good.Regardless, I get the feeling that you are old, stuck in your ways, and consequently staunchly against any type of conclusions that don't fit into a box.That being said, I think you should look into purchasing one of these...http://www.joe-college.com/catalog/images/SPECIAL.jpg

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, GM#1.Here's a link to the MSJ rulings by Judge Robinson. Although the ruling is ~ 67 pages, there are some interesting findings, particularly in Section III- Uncontroverted Facts. Fellow readers may also benefit from parsing through the entire Order-there is a good primer on the law governing the dispute and she describes the background of the dispute and Sinks' KU licensing history. The short version is that the Judge ruled in favor of some and against some of the MSJs. In response to defendant Sinks' MSJ, however, the Judge ruled: "This evidence, in addition to the cease and desist letter sent by Perkins toSinks directly, is enough evidence to persuade a reasonable jury that Sinks actively, and knowingly caused the alleged trademark infringement of KU's marks. Therefore, summary judgment to Sinks on this basis is denied."The above ruling only applies to a portion of the litigation involving some of the goods. She doesn't appear overly enamored with some of KU's arguments either, so I don't believe this will be an all or nothing verdict if KU prevails.As noted above, I believe this is a really close case.http://cpglitigation.googlepages.com/KUSJRuling.pdf

Martina1 6 years, 9 months ago

I am flipping through the channels on the TV this evening. Channel 9 news does a story about Joe College and interviews a lady that is a KU employee and thinks Larry is all wrong on his shirts and should pay pay pay...then I turn to channel 6 our local news and see an advertisement for First Management. It has KU basketball and all kinds of Jayhawk references in it. I wonder does KU charge everyone the same for the use of its Likeness or actual footage from the games? If I were a jury member...I would want a full accounting. Equal is Equal right? Just Do It! Oh, is NIke going to sue me now?

hail2oldku 6 years, 9 months ago

muck_you_ku (Anonymous) says: davidsmom needs to get a clue. Mr. Pot, I'd like you to meet Mr. Kettle

thomgreen 6 years, 9 months ago

I have not read through all the comments, so I might be repeating what someone else has brought up but I am extremely disturbed by the following statement:"Afterward, KU associate athletics director Jim Marchiony said KU supported free speech but that Sinks' T-shirts "had crossed the line.""Uh....when did Jim Marchiony become the judge of when "free speech" crosses the line?

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

"I Bleed Crimson and Blue, therefore I Sh*t Purple!"==================================Really it says that? That is idiotic. Before I was only seeing references to the last three words so I figured it was supposed to be some sort of slam on Kansas State. Purple is their color right?However, that full sentence really does nothing more than display the results of a poor education.None the less, it does nothing to change my mind. I still think that Larry guy has the right to sell those shirts and KU fans the right to proudly display their crassness and ignorance.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 9 months ago

Why on earth should a judge let something so manifestly lacking any indicia of authenticity in for impeachment purposes or otherwise?And I hope you're not billing for this, Cali.

justsomewench 6 years, 9 months ago

misslawrence (Anonymous) says: "K.U. is just pissed that it doesn't receive any "endowment" for their fund::and Pi&ed that Larry is from the Eastside:.and that "our" side of town keeps it real!!! just because they flanagle about 'getting money':.sorry a% people!!!! hang in there larry!!!!!!!!!!! we got your back:::..so what if you have more 'street smarts' than the stuffy a*% rich white folks! hehehe,,,:(while you're white yourself!)::.it's all good from tha poor people!!!!!!"Friends don't let friends type drunk.

MLBaseball 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't claim to know anything about anything about copyright law, I know that people are allowed to make knock off designer clothes as long as they don't purport to be the actual designer but merely a similar design. I am not sure but it seems that this situation is very similar to that. Knock of Gucci dress that seller makes clear isn't Gucci are ok. Why not knock of KU shirts that the seller makes clear are not associated with KU.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

MLB:KU does not own a registered trademark for the word "Hawk". They do own one for the word "Kansas". I suspect they don't own one for "Kansas State" which is separate and distinct from "Kansas" even though the word is contained in K-State's name. There is little if any chance of confusing the schools, logos or colors-at least around this region. While I don't believe Royal blue is registered, usage of certain colors can be protected by trademarks. Once again, despite the similarity of an element, i.e. the color, there doesn't appear to be a great chance someone will confuse a state university and a major league baseball team.

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