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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Verdict doesn’t make clear why some shirts OK

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— "KUnfusing."

The jury's verdict in Kansas University's trademark infringement lawsuit was filed Wednesday, and it did little to clear up why the eight-member panel ruled against certain T-shirts sold by Joe-College.com and allowed others.

For example, the jury decided that "Our Coach Can Eat Your Coach" T-shirts infringed on KU's trademarks and is now on the banned list. But "Kansas Drinking Team" can remain for sale.

On Monday, members of the federal jury refused to speak to the media about their decisions as they left the courthouse after two days of deliberations.

Both sides in the case claimed victory, although they both said they were confused by some of the jury's calls.

"A quick view of them would say that you'd have questions about why the jury came to those decisions," said Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletic director. "But in a case like this, you understand that it's a complicated issue, the jury had a lot of things to think about and discuss, and we think they did a good job."

Jury instructions took more than an hour to read, covering legal issues that attorneys spend careers on.

The jury determined that Larry Sinks, owner of Joe-College.com, and Clark Orth, T-shirt printer, willfully infringed on KU's trademarks. It ordered payment to KU of $127,337 in profits and royalties from the store.

KU had raised allegations against 206 of Sinks' T-shirts and wanted $509,000 - $476,000 in Sinks' profits and $33,000 in royalties - plus punitive damages.

In the official verdict, the jury examined the T-shirts and checked which ones they thought infringed on KU's trademark. The jury had problems with about 25 percent of the shirts.

A design that said "Hawk Star" was OK, but "Lucky to be a Jayhawk" infringed. While "Kansas Drinking Team" was allowed by the jury, "Kansas Swim Team" (with pictures of sperm cells) wasn't.

Some shirts with the word Kansas on them didn't infringe, and some did, while some T-shirts with off-color messages directed at Kansas State University and Missouri did infringe, but others didn't.

Also, shirts that referred to individual players through their nicknames were seen as infringing, but one referring to "Super Mario" was not.

JoeCollege.com lawsuit analysis

Comments

blogthis 8 years, 11 months ago

This is pretty simple to figure out.....but not for the LJW.

KUGreenMachine 8 years, 11 months ago

from looking at the pictures it makes it pretty clear. Anything that used jayhawk, showed a jayhawk, refered to the school itself, used Kansas and refered to something about the school and not the state, anything that refered to kansas and crimson and blue, and anything that said KU or Kansas University was infringement. On the opposite side, it was ok to have Kansas on the front if the back said something about a state sucking and not a school. Also, if it said hawk football/basketball/ etc., it was ok as long as the back didn't refer to anything about Ku or another school... I think it was pretty clear...

Rick Arnoldy 8 years, 11 months ago

Not that simple. Why would "our coach can eat your coach" not be allowed but ones with player names AND numbers be allowed?

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