J. Christian Müller
Joachim Lammert
Gregor Hovemann

In response to the severe financial plight of many clubs that regularly take part in European competitions, UEFA developed the concept of Financial Fair Play as an extension of its licensing regulations. The aim of the concept is to curtail financial foul play in European football (nonpayment of liabilities owing to rival clubs or employees) and financial doping (excessive funding provided to cover losses arising from expenses for playing talent not balanced by revenues). The paper addresses the question if the Financial Fair Play is an adequate concept to ensure the long-term viability...Read more

John Grady
Mark S. Nagel

On February 15, 2013, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s licensing company, JMAN2 Enterprises LLC, filed suit against Eric Vaughn, who had been selling a variety of shirts that featured the phrase “Keep Calm and Johnny Football” with various uses of Texas A&M’s color scheme and/or protected logos (Watson, 2013a). Manziel filed to register a trademark in his nickname “Johnny Football” during the 2012 season prior to winning the Heisman Trophy (the trademark registration was still pending approval before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO] at the time of this writing). His...Read more

Thomas A. Baker III
Kevin K. Byon

According to Fullerton (2010), licensing is a value adding process that provides sport organizations (both licensor and licensee) with significant revenue streams. For instance, the National Football League (NFL) is projected to earn $2.7 billion from the sales of logoed merchandise (Rovell, 2010). In order for sport organizations to maximize benefits as licensors and licensees, it is imperative that they develop and maintain a licensing plan for copyrighted marks and logos. A well-developed licensing plan would guide sport organizations in protecting the brand value of their own works and...Read more

Lisa Pike Masteralexis

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in American Needle v. National Football League is not the “death knell” of collective licensing agreements in sports, but it will hold the NFL and other professional sports entities to a higher level of antitrust scrutiny than they had hoped. The issue in American Needle v. National Football League was whether the NFL’s collective licensing arm, NFL Properties, LLC (NFLP), was a single entity, and therefore, exempt from antitrust liability under Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Section 1 deems “[e]very contract, combination in the form of a...Read more

In November 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued a ruling on motions for summary judgment and declaratory judgment in the long dormant case of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. New Life Art (2009). The highly publicized lawsuit, initially filed in 2005, pitted sports artist Daniel Moore against his alma mater, the University of Alabama (Grady, 2005). The case involves Moore’s art prints depicting Crimson Tide football players playing against rival teams. The art work features the player uniforms as well as the well-recognized school colors...Read more

Anita M. Moorman
Marion E. Hambrick

Three recent cases that are currently pending in federal courts assert a variety of legal theories and, at first glance, may seem to bear no connection. However, a common thread links all three legal challenges: the business activity of licensing. These three cases, one of which will soon be heard by the United States Supreme Court, have the potential to dramatically affect licensing practices in both professional and collegiate sport. When one thinks of the sport licensing industry, the first thought may be of T-shirts, jerseys, and coffee mugs emblazoned with familiar names, logos, and...Read more

The highly publicized case of Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University, et al. v. Smack Apparel (2008) moved one step closer to resolution with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in favor of the plaintiff universities. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s holding that Smack Apparel was liable for trademark infringement. The court’s opinion provides sport marketers with an understanding of the legal issues that are frequently litigated in cases involving manufacturers of unlicensed sports merchandise. The case also highlights the need for sport marketers to work hand in...Read more

Sports fans' desire to purchase memorabilia bearing the name and logos of their favorite teams as well as likenesses of players and coaches remains an integral segment of the market for sporting goods. Indeed, retail sales of sports licensed products in the US and Canada reached $12.6 billion in 2004, down 1% from the previous year (SGMA, 2005). Sport properties, apparel companies, and memorabilia retailers have developed licensing relationships in order to capitalize on sport consumers' interest in team-related memorabilia. Licensing agreements vigorously protect the trademarks of the...Read more