Pine Tar and Trademark Law, pp. 120-121

Anita M. Moorman

Last summer, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals took the opportunity to recount a memorable baseball highlight (the 1983 Pine Tar incident) and remind us of the essential requirements of trademark law. The 1983 Pine Tar incident (Major League Baseball, 1983) that occurred during the July 24, 1983, game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees had nothing to do with the controversy before the court except that Hall of Fame baseball player, George Brett, was involved in both the Pine Tar incident and the current litigation. This connection, although remote, opened the door for the court to recount the Pine Tar incident in glorious detail as a prelude to its actual decision in the case. The court’s description of the Pine Tar incident is an entertaining compliment to its trademark law analysis.