Advertisement

Advertisement

Monday, September 28, 2009

Joe-College.com ordered to pay Kansas Athletics more than $660,000

Judge orders business to cover KU Athletics’ attorney fees, expenses

Larry Sinks, owner of JoeCollege.com, is pictured in front of his store Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. Sinks has been in and out of the news because of his legal battles with Kansas University over licensing issues involving his t-shirts.

Larry Sinks, owner of JoeCollege.com, is pictured in front of his store Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. Sinks has been in and out of the news because of his legal battles with Kansas University over licensing issues involving his t-shirts.

Advertisement

Local business mulling legal options

JoeCollege.com is mulling over its legal options after being ordered to pay about two-thirds of a million dollars to Kansas University. The business has 10 to 30 days to act, depending on what action it plans to take.

Joe-College.com ordered to pay Kansas Athletics more than $660,000

The owners of Joe-College.com must pay Kansas Athletics Inc. $667,507 in attorneys fees and expenses generated during a court case over the content of loosely — and perhaps not-so-loosely — KU-themed T-shirts, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The owners of Joe-College.com must pay Kansas Athletics Inc. $667,507 in attorney fees and expenses generated during a court case over the content of loosely — and perhaps not-so-loosely — KU-themed T-shirts, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Larry Sinks, Clark Orth and Victory Sportswear LLC, collectively known as Joe-College.com, must cover Kansas Athletics’ costs for the case they’d brought against the T-shirt business, which had conducted “trademark infringement” that “was willful and deliberate,” U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled.

“Accordingly, the case is ‘exceptional’ under the Lanham Act and plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees,” Robinson said in her ruling.

Sinks, contacted a few minutes after he’d learned of the ruling, said that he was “numb” and uncertain about what effect the decision would have on him or his business.

The original court case left him responsible for paying $127,000 in penalties, for selling shirts that jurors said could be confused with official KU-licensed merchandise. The order to cover fees and expenses adds another $667,507 to that.

“I got that part loud and clear,” Sinks said. “I just don’t know what it means for me. I don’t know the appeals process. I simply don’t know what it means. …

“I don’t have it (the money), I can tell you that.”

Kansas Athletics earns about $2 million a year in licensing revenues, received through the sale of products that contain Jayhawks, KU logos, Kansas team names and other related items, said Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director.

Businesses that sell licensed KU products “do it the right way,” Marchiony said, while those that don’t are engaging in unfair competition.

“I think the jury and the judge have sent a strong message that you cannot willfully infringe upon someone’s marks without paying a steep price,” Marchiony said.

Licensing revenue is used to finance student scholarships, “and the majority of those students are not athletes, by the way,” Marchiony said.

KU continues to appeal the jury’s original verdict, which found that 53 of the 206 Joe-College T-shirt designs in question had indeed infringed upon or diluted KU’s trademarks.

“We did not want to go to court,” Marchiony said about the original case. “This is not something that we wanted to do. We communicated several times with him about this before it went to trial, so he had many opportunities and many options to avoid the situation in which we find ourselves now.”

Sinks has sought to reduce the penalties imposed by the original jury verdict in July 2008. Now he’ll weigh how to deal with the ruling that he must pay his opponents’ legal fees, too.

“I really don’t know,” Sinks said. “I just don’t know.”

Comments

KUbsee69 4 years, 10 months ago

Who says we live in a free country!

0

kvskubball 4 years, 10 months ago

Would someone explain what this whole mess is about?

I get that the guy has been making KU knock-offs, and that's not good. But did he try to become a licensed KU merchandiser? Did they refuse him? Has he just been stupid and refused to try to work with KU? Who can become a KU licensed merchandiser? Is it hard to do? What percentage do you have to pay?

Need more input....

0

tkramer 4 years, 10 months ago

I personally don't see why anyone would feel sorry for this guy. He used an intellectual property he didn't own. He was asked not to. Repeatedly. What he does isn't parody, which is often covered on these kinds of things. He made cash on someone else's stuff.

I'm sure the uneducated will say the university is picking on him, but let's face it: you either protect your stuff or someone will take it from you. Unfortunately we have long lived in a society that somehow believes its ok to steal movies, music, and so on. You want a brand as powerful as KU's? Go build it yourself, and you'll realize during the painful, long process why it is worth protecting.

0

Cody Stumma 4 years, 10 months ago

I want to see actual proof that he was indeed infringing upon the Copyright of KU. There is no rule saying that one cannot use the word "Kansas"...

Now if he included "Jayhawks", then yes... he is infringing, but just using the word Kansas... there is no indication that the shirt is referring to the University of Kansas.

0

jackconnor1 4 years, 10 months ago

I might feel bad for this guy, except

a) most of his t-shirts are dumb

b) he stole a shirt design from my friend

0

jackconnor1 4 years, 10 months ago

Here is a good example of a dumb t-shirt sold by this guy. Note the irony.

http://www.joe-college.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=773

0

tkramer 4 years, 10 months ago

Code, I know they have shirts with Kansas Basketball on them, if not jayhawks. They even have shirts with player names. Like "Cole 45," "get it on with Sherron," etc... That's just not generic enough to keep you out of trouble.

0

BigD 4 years, 10 months ago

Free country does not mean a country without laws, that's called anarchy.

0

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 10 months ago

TKramer--

If I remember the original ruling, those Cole 45 and Sherron T-shirts were actually found NOT to be violations. It was a very strange ruling and the strangeness was the basis for many of the appeals.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

0

suttonku 4 years, 10 months ago

I dont know that all the shirts are dumb...I have one that says "Carolina blue is past tense for Caroline Blows." I thought that was pretty funny but I dont know enough about the situation to comment on this seriously...If the guy broke the law which apparently he did then he should have to pay up.

0

jackconnor1 4 years, 10 months ago

The Carolina Blue phrase is another example of a shirt Joe College ripped off from somewhere else.

0

ajs10 4 years, 10 months ago

Come on, who honestly thought that these shirts were university licensed. Its fun to wear shirts ripping on Mizzou or KSU...-1 for Marchiony and whoever else went after Joe-College.

0

beakumhawks 4 years, 10 months ago

Good job KU! Seriously, I applaud Kansas for doing what they did. KU gave Sinks every opportunity in the world to make things right, and he thumbed his nose at them. Joe College would pull a shirt that had been ruled to infringe on copyrights one week, then the next week it would suddenly be back on the shelf. Sinks decided to roll the dice and he lost. Tough poop. He could have entered into an agreement to sell licensed shirts, but declined to do so. Instead he went the route that he did. I hope Kansas cleans him out.

0

BCRavenJHawkfan 4 years, 10 months ago

And in more legal news..... The University of Kansas has filed law suits against all KU Sports bloggers that use KU, Kansas, Hawk(s), Jayhawk(s), or Rock Chalk as their blog name or any part there of.

Face it. This guy is finished. Buy your collector items while you can.

0

Jason Spangler 4 years, 10 months ago

Don't worry Larry, win or lose...you'll still booze.

0

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 10 months ago

I think that the university is just jealous because they would love to be able to print shirts with all of those Missouri and K-State jokes on them.

It's a good thing there isn't any protection of images, etc. for Obama and Michael Jackson apparel. That lawsuit would be record-breaking.

I'm just glad I've already got my shirt from there that says "I don't give a sh*t about North Carolina...Roy Williams".

0

TKELuke 4 years, 10 months ago

$667,507 for some dumb T-Shirts?!?! Doing the math here... at $20 a shirt. That is 33,376 shirts. Ouch.

0

longhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

code_2008, the only proof that exists is that a jury said so. Right or wrong, that's the law.

0

tkramer 4 years, 10 months ago

jkealing - Wow, I would never have guessed that player names in the context of the basketball team would not have been violations. I'm not an expert in copyright or intellectual property law, but that seems off. I will say I have worked in advertising on the design side for 9 years and 5 of that was with sports sponsorship related deals. The NFL, NASCAR, NBA, etc. all protected their image hardcore. No reason to think KU would do any less. :-)

0

Andy Hess 4 years, 10 months ago

jackconnor1, they stole a t-shirt idea from my father-in-law as well. he submitted an idea thinking he would win the "contest" they were advertising. a month or so later, there was a shirt that was almost identical to his submitted idea, except they substituted "Missouri" for "K-State." eff him.

0

jhawker15 4 years, 10 months ago

This is so stupid, the university is just mad because joe college is making bank on these shirts. You could just as easily go make one online that says the same thing and it not be a big deal. Let em print what they want on the shirts. They are way better than any licensed apparel.

0

100 4 years, 10 months ago

You make a bunch of Pizza Hut shirts & sell them -- you better expect Pizza Hut will come knocking on your door.

0

KUBlue0809 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad these trashy, cheap t-shirts will slowly disappear. Stay classy Kansas.

0

FarneyMac 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe if Sinks sold his multimillion-dollar house just down the semi-private street from Bill Self, he could find the cash to pay the judgment.

Don't be fooled about Sinks' "little man entrepreneur" act. I can only imagine how ignorant the comments on the LJW edition of this article are. Well, maybe not, the Lawrence Public Library's free internet workstations are closed now.

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't have any love lost for Joe-College.com, it seems like he did not do as he was told by responsible authorities, repeatedly. If the news is possibly right, that sucks.

But even still, what a HUGE attitude problem here. Can you believe they actually want you to accept the result that this guy will 'repay' more than 1/2 a million dollars, that is to REPAY KU for the attorneys that charged KU over 1/2 of a million dollars to SUE this little guy?!? That, of course, was never going to happen from the beginning.

That money represents a lot of scholarships, to kids who need help and would actually be good KU students. We know Joe-College.com will never 're-pay' KU. The attorneys already got what they wanted. KU pays expensive attorneys. Another person will do something similar, and KU will pay expensive attorneys again.

KU is again the BIG LOSER by at least $500,000, since Joe-College may have been able to pay, like $100,000, right? What's wrong with $100,000 in attorneys fees? I know they represent the law and are powerful, but couldn't the attorneys just be OK with $100,000? Well, no. They have to eat you know (and the yacht, the yacht!!).

Anyway, you posters, you KU students, you University administrators, you are all so clearly powerless to keep these attorneys at bay. They affect your life even if you decide not to notice. You do as they say, and you pay through the nose. KU, your overhead really sucks.

You expect KU researchers to pay out over 50% in KU admin overhead. Over 50% on a grant? So, you want KU to compete with people that charge 15% in overhead? Even though we are just football fans, most of us went to KU, and will not be happy to learn just what that overhead is doing to KU - not to mention all universities.

Also, how nice to get an example of where the overhead comes from. Next time, KU, hire your own law students, or use your own law professors to represent KU as part of their load, instead of pimping unrelated KU researchers to buy into the AD lawsuits. True, AD promises to give $40 mill to academics as part of the stadium remodel, but didn't it just take a half mill away with one of these items of business? Perhaps it came from 'a different pot of money' - that's a line that works on a lot of folks.

My advice? Next time you meet a Joe-College KU admin, why not try "You'll hear from my attorney about this, as soon as he/she graduates from law school!" (Groucho Marx). Bleahh. What an easy infringement case to represent. Bleahh.

0

Aaron Rosenthal 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm puzzled by the comments implying that this decision somehow proves that we live under an overly obtrusive government. Also that KU is this big, cruel institution picking on the little guy. Being small does not make a quirky business owner's cause righteous. And being large does not inherently make KU overbearing. If I tried publishing books about a teenage wizard named Larry Cotter you can bet I'd get a well deserved can of legal whoopass opened on me by large institutions. And they would be 100% in the right. Go KU athletics.

0

Kit Duncan 4 years, 10 months ago

What I don't understand is the folks on here defending someone who's trying to sell t-shirts with absolutely idiotic spelling on them to people with a college education.

e.g. "I see stupid people. They're all around me and their wearing purple." A third-grader can spell better than that! Come on, the guy doesn't deserve any sympathy!

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

Exactly. Joe College may be uneducated, absolutely idiotic and not deserve sympathy.

But the attorneys take the cake. All the cake. The headline should read:

"KU PAYS ATTORNEYS $660,000!!!! - NO HOPE TO RECOVER THEIR EXTRAVAGANT FEES!!!"

But instead, of course, the headline implies that Joe College is really going to pay the $660,000. How naive are all y'all? Every poster should be making this point. How weird.

0

theajayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Joe is plain and simple wrong here. Students are losing scholarship money. Taken a step further, if Joe isnt stopped, others ill start infringing on KU logo.

0

KUFan90 4 years, 10 months ago

I thought the "stupid people wearing purple" shirt was kinda funny.

0

stravinsky 4 years, 10 months ago

I certainly won't complain about no more Joe College. The fratboys will have to invest in more pink polos since they won't be able to get anymore "Win Or Lose, We Still Booze" shirts. Seriously, I'm a college student, I drink, but I also have the self respect to not wear a shirt that makes me look like a tool. I'd be okay with there being less idiotic joe college shirts.

0

Hawklin 4 years, 10 months ago

Pure losers. Those who sell the shirts. And more so those who wear them. Go to Spencers Gifts if you have to express your lack of a sense of humor via a t shirt. Dont use someone elses identity to profit and misrepresent. Get the stupid store off Mass St while were at it.

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

Larry Sinks was told by a court of law what shirts he could not sell. He sold them anyway. Here they are - http://www2.kusports.com/photos/galle...

You may not agree with the jury verdict, but it was not ambiguous. He sold merchandise that violated the jury’s decision. Just because he claims to be stupid doesn’t make braking the law OK. Sinks is not some poor local yokel who didn’t know any better. He is using this controversy for publicity and the gullibility of those who buy his shirts.

“I got that part loud and clear,” Sinks said. “I just don’t know what it means for me. I don’t know the appeals process. I simply don’t know what it means. …”

This is total BS. I have met Larry and he is a total a-hole, but I hope he makes a fortune selling shirts that were approved by the courts – the ones that do not violate KU trademarks. This guy knows exactly what he is doing – DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR HIM! Sinks is intentionally violating the early jury decision to get free publicity.

Is Lew an a-hole? Perhaps. But, he is not an a-hole for aggressively protecting KU trademarks. As someone said earlier, once you stop contesting trademark infringements, you can lose the rights to those trademarks. Sinks knows this. He is banking on the free advertising and good will of local patrons to buy his shirts to spite KUAC. The dollar amount of the recent court decision makes that kind of business practice much less palatable for Sinks.

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

...that should be "breaking"

PS - I too think Sinks sells some very clever and funny shirts. I hope he continues to do so. I really do not care about the offensive ones either. But, bad tastes is not what the ruling was about.

0

KUbsee69 4 years, 10 months ago

Breaking News ...

1) KUAD files suit against the State of Kansas for having the word Kansas on vehicle license tags !!!

2) KUAD files for restraining order to keep Kansas citizens from carrying state issued I.D.s that use the word Kansas !!!

3) KUAD files to prevent Lawrence, KS auto dealers from selling red or blue cars !!!

4) KUAD files suit against Kansas State University for using the words Kansas and University !!!

Oops, I better hide my class ring before I get sued for advertising without a license !!!

0

jayhawklaw 4 years, 10 months ago

KUbsee69 (anonymous) says... "Breaking News ...

1) KUAD files suit against the State of Kansas for having the word Kansas on vehicle license tags !!!

2) KUAD files for restraining order to keep Kansas citizens from carrying state issued I.D.s that use the word Kansas !!!

3) KUAD files to prevent Lawrence, KS auto dealers from selling red or blue cars !!!

4) KUAD files suit against Kansas State University for using the words Kansas and University !!!

Oops, I better hide my class ring before I get sued for advertising without a license !!!"

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

0

pmohr13 4 years, 10 months ago

If I remember correctly he worked with a store that was Licensed with KU but then he opened his new store and when he tried to get licensed they denied most of his t-shirt ideas. And I also believe he stopped selling most if not all of the shirts that were ruled to be infringing.

0

pbowman2 4 years, 10 months ago

gardenjay really has a problem with lawyers. I guess he'd rather live in a country without them; one where they have no courts or an opportunity to redress grievances. Take Myanmar for example. Sinks brought this on himself, and cost the school a lot of money to enforce its legal rights.

That said, it does seem to me the school has lost sight of its mission--to educate. Instead it bows down to the almighty dollar. Fat cats are now ruling KU.

0

Displayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Say what you want to about the Joe College shirts, and whether they are infringing upon KU or not. But I really like the fact that most if not all of the students are wearing blue, and turning the stadium blue on gameday! From someone who personally sat through some Nebraska games that looked like a home game for them because of all the red, I personally like seeing all the blue!

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

pbowman2 - How do you know I am not an attorney? Are you an attorney?

The point, again, is why should KU spend over 1/2 million dollars on such a puny insignificant guy? I did not hear you arguing that the legal fees KU spent were reasonable - my point exactly. And what about KU overhead? You liking it?

Why waste money that could be spent educating students who can be critical thinkers? Joe College needed to be taken down - agreed - but only for the amount which he could repay the attorneys suing him. If he does more damage to the university than the cost he can repay the university, then the system is FLAWED.

You think I like the Myanmar government? Aung San Suu Kyi would like be my best friend over there - and since you can be sure attorneys like democracy, and we both might be attorneys, then we might be....friends?

0

Jaminrawk 4 years, 10 months ago

I don't know why people are so quick to defend this guy. He had numerous warnings and already had a fine levied against him. He knew he was playing with fire. Plus, his shirts actually use player names and even a few images of Mark Mangino. How is that not illegal if he is the one pocketing all of the profits? I'm sure if he started a business pretty much selling Beatles shirts or knock off Nike apparel he would face the same consequences. Adidas pays the university to make KU athletics apparel, so why shouldn't he? They didn't want to license their copyright to some of the bad taste shirts he was creating and that is their right. If someone started making shirts with YOUR name on them and was turning a profit and not giving you anything you would be upset. Especially is some of the shirts were stupid.

0

BigGuyDon 4 years, 10 months ago

gardenjay- your analysis is flawed. You aren't incorporating the opportunity cost of NOT challenging. The lost revenue from the shirts. The lost revenue to law-abiding companies that did get licenses but are losing sales because people are buying joe-college shirts instead of theirs. The potential lossed licensing revenue if other companies decide to go the joe-college route instead of getting licensed. The ultimate loss of the trademark altogether because they aren't defending it. 500 K in legal fees is small change compared to all of that.

I'm proud of the jury for cutting through Sinks' BS and hammering him. Ultimately, this is a country of laws and some of them govern patents and intellectual property rights. Kudos to the judge and jury for recognizing the law being broken and not falling for this populist "Big mean corporation vs good little entrepenuer" mumbo jumbo.

0

Kevin Long 4 years, 10 months ago

I can see both sides of it. I do like the guys shirts. Some are funny as hell. I don't think KU should have wasted so much time and money on it though.

0

KUAlum2000 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree with the KUAD going after this guy because he was infringing on copyrights after being told not to.

I also wondered why KU went after him so hard. Is he the guy that also does the "Muck Fizzou" shirts? You have to think if you are an institution trying to maintain a fairly decent image you would want to get rid of those shirts as much as you want to get rid of the kickoff chants and the inter-fighting amongst squads. Its all part of the global strategy of controlling and maintaining the business product that is "Kansas Athletics". Part of being a very successful organization is realizing that when you're doing well people are gonna want to try and beg, borrow and steal as much of that pie as they can.

0

coolhand357 4 years, 10 months ago

gardenjay has a point. Althought I agree with the outcome, just stop and think for a moment how much $660,000.00 really is. How much legal time did this really take? Yes, the infringement should stop, but who is getting the "lost revenue here"? It really wasn't that hard of a case. Talk about extravagant. I can't believe the university blew that kind of dough. It makes you wonder just how many fingers are in this pie.

0

KanFan27 4 years, 10 months ago

Joe College lost because he didn't have the lawyers to stake his claim. He was doing nothing illegal. Using red and blue and the words Kansas are not illegal on anything. He never used KU logos Kanas University etc. Kansas only won the legal battle because they have better lawyers.

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

KanFan27, look at this link. Joe College most certainly did sell unlicensed merchandise that had Jayhawks, and other registered KU logos on them. A jury found him to be in violation. So your assertion he did nothing illegal is only your opinion.

So many people see this as just Sinks vs. big, bad old KU. It goes beyond that. What about all the other retailers who sell KU licensed merchandise? When Sinks sells unlicensed items, it is a lost sale for another retailer, like Jayhawk Spirit, or Jocks Nitch, etc. They play by the rules and you don’t hear them babbling on about not knowing better or pretending to be victimized by KU.

Larry Sinks knew the rules about trademark infringement. He was in the t-shirt business long before Joe College. He was given ample warning years ago to stop. He chose to spit in the eye of KUAC, knowing full good and well what could happen. He chose to use the free publicity to increase his sales and take away sales from other Lawrence retailers. He played with fire and got burned. Now, he wants you to believe that poor little David is losing the valiant fight against that big, bad, money grubbing KU.

Please. If you want to support local businesses, buy from those retailers who play by the rules. They are all over town and the state. They are ones you really hurt if you think it is wise to stop buying KU licensed merchandise.

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

KanFan27, I will agree with you on this. Selling blue shirts with the word Kansas on them does not violate trademark rights. The jury also agreed with you. Those are not the shirts that got him in trouble.

0

bad_dog 4 years, 10 months ago

"I thought the "stupid people wearing purple" shirt was kinda funny."

I believe what NavyHawk was getting at was that it looks stupid to wear a shirt with misspelled words (confusing They're and their) and then labeling the objects of that derision as stupid.

0

100 4 years, 10 months ago

Let me give you one more example:

You make a bunch of shirts that say "Jaybate", sell them for $20 a pop, & you better believe Jaybate will come knocking on your door.

Possible solutions yielding a t-shirt company without getting sued:

                         1. "Jaybat"
                         2. "Jaybaste"
                         3. "Jaywhat"
                         4. "Jaybait" (questionable)
                         5. "Jaywait"
                         6. "Jaylate"
                         7. "Jaytabe"

Joe College could have tried something like this -- the Jayhawk could have become the "HayJawk" & he could have saved 3/4 of a million clams...

0

bad_dog 4 years, 10 months ago

"Joe College needed to be taken down - agreed - but only for the amount which he could repay the attorneys suing him. If he does more damage to the university than the cost he can repay the university, then the system is flawed."

Unbelieveable.

So the measure of your damages is pre-set based upon the amount a defendant can repay? If the damages and expenses caused by the defendant's actions exceed whatever the defendant can pay, then the system is flawed.

OK-got it. 99% of all you plaintiffs over there go dismiss your lawsuits-the defendant can't afford to pay you. Just suck it up, shrug your shoulders, go over to the Clerk's office and tell them you're dismmissing your lawsuit because the system is flawed.

Folks, the fees ARE a lot of money, but not unusual in protracted litigation replete with extensive financial discovery, numerous fact and expert witnesses, etc. That's why the cost of litigation is a factor in making tough business decisions. Sometimes you have to make that tough decision as a matter of principle, even though you know it isn't the most attractive financial alternative. Either that or accept the outcome. KU was not willing to accept the outcome of what they believed to be copyright infringement.

I suspect that somewhere along the way Joe College weighed the likelyhood of being sued versus the possibility of being ignored, and the potential for profit versus the amount of a negative verdict and the expenses to get there. No one knows at the outset beyond a guesstimate where the costs for litigation will end, but I can tell you very few wind up under budget or avoid previously unforseen expenses. This case was and is being vigorously litigated over an extensive period, thus the high price tag. Don't overlook the fact that litigation expense can also be a tool used by an opposing party. I haven't reviewed the billings for this case, but would not be surprised to see that Sinks caused the incurral of some of the very expenses he's being required to reimburse to KU. In fact, by virtue of the jury verdict you attribute all the responsibility for the legal fees to Sinks.

For those who believe KU should have avoided this expense by utilizing their law students and/or professors, understand that KU hired a top patent/copyright law firm because they wanted the best. It's not that they don't have very bright students and capable professors, the law students can't practice law without a limited license granted to 3Ls and the professors are doing something else called lecturing those students. Even if you have qualified personnel in a relatively arcane area of the law you are not going to expect them to abandon their studies and occupations for two years to chase this lawsuit.

0

hawkson 4 years, 10 months ago

This seems pretty simple to me. The guy was infringing and profiting from it...at a large enough scale that the university had to take notice. Don't confuse this goofball with an actual college student peddling his clever wears out of a duffel. Its different. Size matters.

And, I'd hope the actual college student would be more clever and produce less grammatically flawed product.

0

4 years, 10 months ago

bad_dog & jayhawkerjoel ~

Very well said!

The other thing KUAC is accomplishing via this law suit is setting a precedent. If they didn’t go after Joe College with the full force of the legal system, and another potential copyright infringer comes along, when KUAC decides to go after them, the defense will point to the Joe College case and say, “Look, you didn’t care that much about what they did, so why are you so concerned about my client’s activities?” You have to be ready to protect your brand even if there is a perception of intrusion.

0

Rick Arnoldy 4 years, 10 months ago

jhawker15 - The difference is that it would be a one-off shirt from which you are not seeking to make a profit. If KU even knew you did it you probably wouldn’t get more than a letter. The vendor who sold you the shirt might be in trouble if they were unlicensed.

Gardenjay – Look at the bigger picture. How many printers that may think about following the Joe College business model with now give it second thought. KU prevented several future cases like this, probably saved money in the long run, and controls its future revenue stream by protecting its copyrights. All for $600k.

0

coolhand357 4 years, 10 months ago

So what have we learned from this kids? Set your sights on becoming the best attorney possible. Study these events closely. The law firm has alrady been paid! (which is very good for luxury yacht production) I'm sure this is not the end of it either. So, if you are looking for a career, why not strive for one that gets you paid first and let the courts decide the reimbursement? And what better school to get your degree? Then you may have an opportunity to be hired by the very school you paid to get your education. Full circle economics? Litigation = good for American economy.

0

slowplay 4 years, 10 months ago

$660,000????? I thought F. Lee Baily was retired.

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

ohioburg - you make an excellent point!

From a risk management perspective, $660K is nothing when you look at the trademark litigation it will prevent over the next 10 - 20 years.

0

jayhawkinmullen 4 years, 10 months ago

I actually saw Jim Marchiony the other day and he was wearing a shirt that said,

                 Kansas
                   Don't
                  F%#*
                   With
                   Our
                 Naming
                  Rights
0

KUbsee69 4 years, 10 months ago

jayhawklaw ... maybe you should try med school.

pbowman2 ... I also have a problem with lawyers. Something is wrong when the USA has 80% of the worlds attorneys to cover 20% of the world's population. You know what you've got when you have 20 lawyers buried up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand !!!

I've only met one lawyer that I've liked, and I have to because he's a relative.

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

I am not defending this guy - he seems pretty sleazy. I never said it was unimportant to address this issue - lots of KU revenue at stake to spend on...well....

Anyway, it is absurd to argue the costs associated with addressing an issue like this are a reasonable deterrent. Why not use a billion dollar deterrent, or a trillion dollar deterrent? So why not a $100,000 deterrent, and KU keeps the extra $500,000 for scholarships instead of giving to attorneys? How do you define a deterrent? Wasn't $100,000 enough? Crimony.

I really doubt you are thinking like Joe College, and his way of considering what an adequate deterrent would be. So, you want to pay attorneys so that you have a big deterrent, OK, then what if your future illegal KU profiteers are poor readers? Lots of those now. What about if they are good readers, but with a short attention span, say 10 years from now? Or even a few days from now? Well, that covers just about everyone!

It may be that we have a bunch of high school kids posting here; or defensive attorneys, or KU admin shills. But even you guys, stop being so weak-kneed - it's your money after all. No wonder health care will never change in the USA (poor Obama - an atty, btw).

0

Aligned 4 years, 10 months ago

gj,

I read most of the above comments and it's very hard for me to believe that you're the only one here seeing what the real story is.

Folks, check out the above pdf on Attachment A and see what the partners pulled in on this: Davis, for example, made $11,157.30 for a 40 hour week.

That's insane.

0

jfish126 4 years, 10 months ago

If you think he walked out of the office with a check for $11,157.30 for the 40 hours he billed, you don't know how firm compensation works.

Yes, three quarters of a million dollars is a lot of money, but this wasn't about KAI going after Sinks. This was about KAI wanting to draw very clear lines around its property going forward.

0

Scatterhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Part of copyright law in the United States, as I understand it, is that if you don't protect your copyright you risk losing it. Kansas Athletics had little choice.

Anyway, screw this guy.

0

hawkster007 4 years, 10 months ago

KU looks like a petulant big bully! How can Joe owe them $670,000 from his small business with one outlet selling basically only t-shirts, when KU makes $2 million a year from hundreds of outlets selling hundreds of products - - this seems substantially unproportional. Of course I know that the $670,000 is probably considered an accumulation of several years, but it is still wrong. Why does Terrelle Pryor's (Ohio State q-back now) former high school, the Jeannette, Penn. Jayhawks get to use the exact Jayhawk logo and name and get away with it?

http://www.pahelmetproject.com/images/lids/jeannette.png

0

coolhand357 4 years, 10 months ago

Check out the logo on this link. The "Hampton Hawks" high school in Nebraska. Under which category does this fall?

http://www.highschoolsports.net/defaultcal.cfm?ct=m&schoolid=NE6884313667

0

Joel Hood 4 years, 10 months ago

There are a number of schools and businesses that use the Jayhawk as their logo. Many of them have documented historical claims to use the image. They work with KU to ensure they are not violating any current trademark restrictions. For example, I remember reading that Mound City in eastern Kansas pays KU an annual fee of $1 to use the Jayhawk logo. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

These examples prove the point of who is in the wrong here. KU works with schools and businesses that have legitimate or historical claims to brands trademarked by KU. Hundreds of other vendors work with KU to sell licensed merchandise.

Larry Sinks knew all this, but wanted to profit without working with KU. Sinks could have easily worked with KU to stay in compliance. They went to him a long time ago to prevent this from going to court. He said no. He could have sold many of his clever t-shirts without violating any trademarks and done quite well. He decided to pimp this David vs. Goliath story to sell more t-shirts. He lost after starting the fight in the first place.

Now, some of you feel bad for him or you just see KU as the big, bad, oppressive Goliath?? The licensing revenue goes to pay for scholarships, mainly for non-athletes. KU has shown reasonable consideration to other schools and businesses. Sinks deserves what he got.

0

bad_dog 4 years, 10 months ago

Some of the posters here need to get a better understanding of the law, property rights and how they are protected or abandoned. Or perhaps they could just go buy a t-shirt from Joe College that says: "I needed a clue and all I got was this lousy t-shirt".

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

Good one CoolHand! I hadn't had a big laugh like that all morniing.

0

TimmytheJayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

  1. The breakdown of atty fees is disgusting.
  2. Sure the guy is a tool and his shirts are dumb, but how many of you said, "I wish I had done that!" He was trying to stick it to the man and lost... Back to your day job Joe College owner.
  3. The "Hawk" usage instead of "Jayhawk" is ugly... Jayhawks is unique and cool. "Hawks" is one step above "Wildcats".
0

Dan Cook 4 years, 10 months ago

It's this simple. Larry had a chance to get out of this without much pain at all. He chose to cling to a renegade stance willing to bet that the publicity would eventually work in his favor and the hand slap would carry a small price tag. There was a time when I was on his side -- to a degree. That time has long since passed. A very bad business decision by Larry and partners, IMHO.

0

boomrsoonr26 4 years, 10 months ago

Nothing quite like a another government insitution trying to shut down the small business owners of America. Way to go State of Kansas, nothing like infringing on state pride. Funk Kansas!

0

Kent Wells 4 years, 10 months ago

Nice one jayhawkinmullen!

Another shirt idea:

I'm a Jayhawk Point Plankn!

0

actorman 4 years, 10 months ago

It's truly mindboggling how many idiots there are on this site.

I can't say it any better than jayhawkerjoel, so I will just say to all the bozos and buffoons like boomrsoonr26 (who is probably just trying to stir things up) that KU has EVERY RIGHT to protect its property--and in fact has a duty to all the legitimate businesses to go after people like Larry Sinks. Everything that has happened to "Joe College" is well deserved.

0

coolhand357 4 years, 10 months ago

Hey boomrsoonr26, know why they replaced the real grass to atificial turf in your football stadium? ..... To keep your cheerleaders from grazing at halftime.

0

hailtoku 4 years, 10 months ago

Let me get this straight... a school who openly claims their colors derived from two different schools, is now filing a law suit because those colors are being used without their discretion?

God bless the U.S.A

0

gardenjay 4 years, 10 months ago

Indeed. Also there is the $600K Joe College deterrent, supposed to be good for 10 to 20 years.

And seriously, given that there are AD employees checking on Facebook and Twitter accounts, it makes sense they are being paid to come on here and call posters idiots, bozos and buffoons. I mean, why bother coming on this site sifting through posts from idiots? Hard to explain otherwise.

But perhaps you actually feel passionate about the AD and its protection of KU logos, and are sincerely concerned about attorneys making enough money. I for one enjoy reading your posts, in the way it is like viewing some exotic weird bird, or like watching a circus, or running a gauntlet lined with hungry alligators. I was vastly disappointed to see this fun Joe College subject overtaken by a DUI and more brawl investigations. Oh well, AD: Rock Chalk!

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.