Vikings Defense Beats Wells Fargo Offense in Contract Dispute Over Signage

Barbara Osborne

A case recently decided by the U.S. District Court in Minnesota illustrates the complex interactions between stadium development and lease agreements and the expanding scope of protections provided for intellectual property interests including brand and image. In 2012, the Minnesota state legislature passed a statute (Minn. Stat. §§ 473J.01-473J.27) creating the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) and providing for construction and financing of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings football team. e MSFA then entered into a contract with the Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium, LLC (Vikings). e stadium use agreement provided the Vikings the right to control the “branding and image of the stadium” including the area around the stadium (Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2016, p. 2). ese contract provisions become central to the Vikings efforts to protect their official sponsors.