COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – In an unexpected news conference on Wednesday, Texas A&M University announced it would be suing many major banking institutions over the use of logos for their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) due to the copyright infringement against their brand.
During the press conference, which many thought would be about NCAA violations, University Athletic Department Spokesman John Gildman stated that the action is being taken due to the likeness seen between the University’s iconic logo and the signage used on or around most ATMs.
“As a university and a brand, we need to do what is right for Texas A&M, our alumni and our fans,” Gildman said.
Gildman continued to describe that given the similarity in the two logos, it may begin to draw negative connotations towards Texas A&M University. One main association that concerns the university is the association of ATM logos and money.
“We don’t want the likeness in these two logos to create a negative connection between Texas A&M University and money,” Gildman explained. “Our great university isn’t just about money. That is why we decided to bring these lawsuits against these financial institutions.”
This isn’t the first lawsuit Texas A&M has brought forth in order to protect one of its copyrighted properties – in 2006, the university filed a lawsuit against the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks over their use of the “12th Man” title for its fan-base. Texas A&M traced its use of the moniker back to 1922, well before the Seahawks first use of the term in 1984.
The Seahawks now pay a licensing fee to Texas A&M University in order to continue using the “12th Man” title for their fanbase.
However, Gildman did state that the Seahawks may now be in violation of the licensing agreement.
“The licensing agreement with the Seattle Seahawks allows them to utilize the “12th Man” name with our permission in marketing activities both inside and outside of the stadium,” said Gildman. “However, recent activities by players and fans of the Seahawks in this year’s NFL Playoffs represent emulation that is outside of their licensing agreement. We will have to revisit that language and pursue further action accordingly.”
Gildman cited Seahawks fans throwing food items, including popcorn, at seriously injured San Francisco 49ers Linebacker NaVorro Bowman as he was being carted off the field along with Richard Sherman’s post-game tirade as examples of the Seahawks emulating the “passion and commitment” that Aggies’ fans and players display on gameday that isn’t currently covered in the pre-existing licensing agreement.
Llewelyn Jensen, a sports industry professor at Texas A&M University, agreed via phone interview that the Seahawks are becoming dangerously close to breaching the agreement.
“The Seattle fans and players fervent display of deuchebaguery is becoming too similar to what is seen in College Station on every football gameday from the real 12th Man,” said Jensen.
Fox reporter Erin Andrews and former WWE interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerland were not able to be reached for comment on their interviews with the Seahawks Defensive Back Sherman.
During the press conference, Gildman was asked if this series of lawsuits had anything to do with former Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel leaving the university to go to the NFL and attempting to replace the money he earned for their organization.
“This series of litigious actions has nothing to do with Johnny Manziel leaving the college,” Gildman replied, while contradictingly nodding his head yes.
Sources close to the situation that would like to remain confidential stated that the problem was posed to final semester students at the Texas A&M University Law School to be their capstone project for the Spring 2014 Semester. The project, titled “Recouping Future Losses Now: How to Replace a Cash Cow with Lawsuits in only 30 Days,” challenged the students, working in groups of five, to find “out of the box solutions” to “legally increase the university’s bottom line, both immediately and in perpetuity.”
Reportedly, other future lawsuits include suing each of America’s farm families for infringing on the teams nickname “Aggies”, seeking a cut of Johnny Manziel’s earnings from his “autograph sessions”, and taking action against the University of Texas for stealing Texas A&M’s idea of hiring an African-American head football coach and acting like they did it first.
Gildman refused to comment on any classes or the work that any students may be doing.
“In the Athletics Department, we prefer to distance ourselves as much as possible from the academics,” Gildman stated. “It makes many accusations so much easier to refuse in the future.”