Artist appeals court ruling involving team's original logo

December 05, 2009|By Sports Digest

The Ravens should be barred from selling old game films that show players wearing the NFL team's original logo, a lawyer for the amateur artist who designed the "Flying B" told a federal appeals court Friday. A jury ruled in 1998 that the Ravens stole the logo idea from Frederick Bouchat but refused to award damages. The franchise adopted a new logo the next year, and Bouchat has never received compensation for the team's use of his design from 1996 through 1998. Bouchat had sought $10 million. Now Bouchat wants the courts to prohibit any commercial use of materials depicting the original logo - a shield with the letter B in the middle, flanked by wings. U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis ruled that the appearance of the logo is incidental and a fair use by the franchise and NFL Films. Bouchat appealed that ruling. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit appeared divided during a nearly hourlong hearing. "The remedy you're asking is to blot out three years of history," Judge Paul V. Niemeyer told Bouchat's lawyer, Howard Schulman. Niemeyer said the Ravens are no longer promoting the team with the logo but are using it historically "because they're stuck with it." He suggested that the mere presence of the logo in archival materials is not a trademark infringement. Judge Roger Gregory seemed to differ, citing the jury's finding that Bouchat was ripped off. "You have a history of infringement that you are marketing and making money off of, right?" Gregory asked Robert Raskopf, an attorney for the Ravens. Raskopf said people buy the films for the game action, not to look at the logo. Schulman said the logo is more than just a piece of history - it is a goodwill symbol that continues to benefit the franchise. "They can find other ways to communicate their history," he said. The appeals court usually takes several weeks to issue a ruling.

Stadium: South Dakota-based Daktronics said it will design, manufacture and install new large screen video displays for M&T Bank Stadium. The multimillion dollar upgrade project includes two large end-zone video displays, video processors and the Brookings-based company's new show control system. Each high-definition end-zone display will be about 24 feet high by 100 feet wide.

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