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adidas intellectual rights

Posted by . updated on 11/11/2009
  Hello and thank you. I have a question about Adidas sporting apparel. I want to know what makes an NFL jersey protected under intellectual property rights? For instance if I remove the trade logos bearing the NFL insignia and the Reebok logo and any team logo and tags bearing the trade names etc. does this blank jersey made of the team colors then become free of infringement? Like for instance you take a Brett Favre Green Bay Packers jersey. and leave the name Favre on it and the number 4 on it but remove the logos etc. Is this jersey still protected now?
Answers (3)
 
JSonnabend
I think that leaving the "Favre" on the jersey along with the number and the other markings might be enough to confuse consumers as to the source of the goods.  Now, if you're thinking of buying properly licensed jerseys and customizing them as you've described before reselling them, you very well may be in the clear.

- Jeff

p.s., "what the hell is Brett Favre doing here?"
 
 
John Doe
So its a matter of confusing the consumer as to where the product is coming from..... I understand that portion of it. So how far would one have to go in order to not confuse the consumer.  For instance if "the jersey is not purchased and changed" however one is made with similar markings with an independent label not to be confused with the original, however does contain the words "Favre" or the number "4" or both is this considered infringement, I guess what I am asking is how far would one have to go to insure against infringement. Is the mere use of the name or number alone enough or is it a combination of that put together with the colors and pattern of the similar licensed jersey that crosses the line? Can you expand a little more to make it more clear as to where the line is drawn or is this always a matter of dispute? and the lines are always fuzzy and a matter of interpretation?
 
 
JSonnabend
Unfortunately, there's no bright line test.  The inquiry is highly fact specific and often reasonable minds can differ on the analysis.  

You can apply some common sense, though.  If you are creating a jersey with the number 4 and the name "Brett Favre", are you intending to convey to consumers that this is a replica/reproduction of a Brett Favre jersey from one of his teams?  A pink jersey with "Favre" and the number 4 might be ok, while a the same jersey in yellow and green might get you in trouble.

- Jeff
 

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