Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and his company JMAN2 Enterprises LLC have filed a lawsuit claiming infringement on his trademark.
JMAN2 Enterprises LLC filed suit on Feb. 15 against Eric Vaughn in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Vaughn is accused of using the nickname “Johnny Football” in order to sell T-shirts.
JMAN2 Enterprises LLC trademarked the nickname during the 2012 football season, but according to the Southeast Texas Record, the company learned on Nov. 15 that Vaughn was using the trademark to sell shirts that said “Keep Calm and Johnny Football.”
The defendant is accused of trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, Texas unfair competition, including right of publicity, palming off and misappropriation.
JMAN2 Enterprises is asking the court for injunctive relief and an award of damages for the unlawful sale of goods, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, interest, and court costs.
Now, here’s the kicker to this story. ESPN sports business reporter Darrell Rovell tweeted that the NCAA told Texas A&M that if Manziel’s (and his company) sues and wins, it can keep the damages.
Yes, Johnny Football could get paid for someone using his name.
While many might be put off by this, it’s just smart business. Manziel’s family said it was trademarking the name to keep people from using for their own monetary purposes (and so they could use it later) and now it could end up benefiting the Manziel family sooner than they expected.
So, beware T-shirt makers and the like, Johnny Football is coming for you.
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