University of Alabama Case to Test Limits of Trademark Licensing in Sport Art Cases

John Grady

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 respective sport properties while providing the sport properties with additional revenue streams.