Federal jury weighs compensation in artist's lawsuit over Ravens logo

City man seeks damages for art that NFL team used

July 24, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A logo that the Ravens used as their primary insignia for three years is worthless, and its designer shouldn't get a dime from sales of merchandise bearing it, an attorney for the Ravens and NFL Properties said yesterday as a trial over the logo's value drew to a close in federal court in Baltimore.

During closing arguments, Bob Raskopf said repeatedly that Frederick E. Bouchat, 36, a Pigtown amateur artist, deserves nothing from the Ravens. "I'm not disparaging the artwork in this case," Raskopf said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing it. But it's irrelevant. It doesn't matter."

Howard J. Schulman, Bouchat's attorney, argued that the Ravens owe his client for the use of the logo, which he said they chose specifically because it helped fans relate to the Ravens.

Schulman reminded jurors of an article published in The Sun in 1996 in which Bruce Burke, vice president of advertising and creating director of NFL Properties, said it was important to have a logo that was unique to Baltimore. The logo, a winged B, reminded people of Baltimore, Schulman said.

"Obviously, the design plays a factor," Schulman argued.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours without reaching a verdict and are scheduled to resume deliberations today. The trial is intended to determine what, if any, damages the team and NFL Properties should pay Bouchat, who won an earlier lawsuit claiming the Ravens stole his design.

Jurors sent a note asking U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis to clarify whether an amount specified in one of the exhibits represented revenue "derived solely from the sale of merchandise bearing the Flying B logo or from the sale of all NFL licensed merchandise with Ravens insignia."

In a written reply, Garbis told jurors that the $2,256,272 represented royalties paid by NFL licensees for their sale of merchandise with the Flying B logo and other Ravens logos.

He also told them that an additional $418,979 in commissions was paid by the stadium concessionaire for sales of souvenir cups at Ravens home games.

During his 90-minute closing argument, Raskopf suggested that perhaps 1 percent of the sales could be attributed to the logo.

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