This Article evaluates the ramifications of modern trademark law in the context of sports apparel and logos. Collegiate and professional sports teams have utilized modern trademark law to enact a licensing regime where third-party companies must pay royalties to produce apparel with collegiate logos. This regime assumes the inherent value of trademarks on sports apparel is derived from their association with the teams they represent, not the logo itself. This Article examines various approaches courts have taken to address the dichotomy between the necessary consumer association and the reality that the logos themselves are what draw consumers. Most notably, this Article focuses on the recent ruling in Pennsylvania State University v. Vintage Brand, LLC (M.D. Pa. 2022). Finally, this Article considers how the Supreme Court could potentially resolve the confusion surrounding trademark rights in sports merchandising by affirming third-party disclaimers.
Intellectual Property Law
- Journal title
Boston College Intellectual Property and Technology Forum
- Date submitted
4 April 2023