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Seahawks Can Continue to Use 12th Man With Limitations

Posted Friday, August 12, 2016 by Daniel Mills

The Seattle Seahawks and Texas A&M University entered into a new licensing agreement this week which will allow the Seahawks to continue to use the phrase "12th Man", but with some important limitation from the previous agreement. Under the new agreement the Seahawks will have to take down the reference to the 12th Man in the Ring of Honor in their stadium. In addition, the Seahawks are no longer permitted to use or refer to "12th Man" in social media run by the NFL franchise.

The two parties first entered into a licensing agreement in 2006. This current deal runs for five years. Texas A&M vigorously defends its rights in the mark, which stems from the exploits of a former student who came out of the stands in 1922 to take the field if necessary because of injuries to players. This act was the genesis of the 12th Man. So TAMU had been using the 12th Man to describe its fan base for about 50 years before the Seahawks even existed.

In recent years the Seahawks have applied for and registered many trademarks with reference to the number 12. As of this post, Football Northwest, LLC (as the Seahawks are legally identified at the USPTO), have seventeen marks that use "12" in various forms including SPIRIT OF 12, THE 12S, 12S, WE ARE 12, and JUNIOR 12S.

Seahawks Can Continue to Use 12th Man With Limitations ›› Ruttler Mills PLLC