Smack Apparel Revisited on Appeal: Significant Victory or Narrow Extension of Trademark Protection for Universities’ Color Schemes?, pp. 54-56

John Grady

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 hand with legal counsel to proffer evidence, in the form of marketing materials and promotional campaigns, establishing a link between consumers’ association of their trademarks and the university’s branding efforts with respect to school colors.