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Ravens face fresh logo lawsuit

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The Summer of Law has worked its way to Baltimore.

The man who claimed he designed the original Ravens logo, which the franchise stopped using after his first lawsuit hit paydirt with a federal jury, has since launched a trio of actions targeting the presence of the defunct design in stadium displays, television presentations, the Internet, and video games.

As explained by Lorraine Mirabella of the Baltimore Sun, Frederick E. Bouchat filed last week a fresh lawsuit based on photos displaying the shield design the team used from 1996 through 1998.

In 1996, Bouchat faxed the original design to the Maryland Stadium Authority, and he claimed in his original lawsuit that the team stole its logo from Bouchat’s design.  The team claimed it didn’t know about Bouchat’s drawing, appealing the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although Bouchat eventually won, he never received a dime in damages from the initial case.

“He was an individual who was forgotten and shunned in the rush to market the team,” attorney Howard J. Schulman told the Sun. “He’s never gotten the appropriate credit, either personally or commercially.  He’s created something that was of value in an intellectual property sense.”

In a separate lawsuit filed in 2008, a federal judge ordered last November that the league and the Ravens should compensate Bouchat for the presence of the logo in highlight films marketed by the NFL.  The amount owed hasn’t been determined.

According to Schulman, the old logo continues to appear at M&T Bank Stadium, via nine large photos showing former players wearing it.  The pending legal actions also target the presence of the logo on NFL Network, on, and in the Madden video games, via “throwback” uniforms.

Bouchat’s ownership of the logo already has been determined by a court of law.  If the Ravens and the NFL plan to keep using it, Bouchat needs to be compensated.  If someone brazenly were using in multiple contexts and settings a logo owned by the Ravens and/or the NFL, Goliath would be sitting on David’s head.

Our guess?  The league and the Ravens keep using the logo because they disagree with the outcome of the original lawsuit, and possibly because they believe they’re operating on house money because they never had to pay Bouchat the first time around.  Hopefully, they’ll have to pay him, eventually.

Whether they like it or not, Bouchat owns that design.  They can’t use it without compensating him for it.

Maybe they’ll compensate him for it if enough fans realize how the Ravens have been treating for the last 16 years a guy who was, basically, a fan with an idea that the Ravens regarded as good enough to steal.

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22 Responses to “Ravens face fresh logo lawsuit”
  1. truthhurtstoo says: Jul 3, 2012 8:22 AM

    bad karma like this will be the price they pay for not winning the Big One.

  2. draftking says: Jul 3, 2012 8:25 AM

    Will the Ravens end up having to blur it out like WWE does with the old “scratch era” WWF logo?

  3. e23r0 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:33 AM

    Sounds like another entry is on it’s way to the “World’s Longest Invoice” site. A site for designers to publicly call out delinquent clients.

  4. pape27 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:48 AM

    God forbid you infringe on the NFL and its licensing deals. They squash you like a grape in a wine press. But I guess its okay that the NFL lets its teams rip off other people’s designs because, well, they are the NFL.

    Wonder if the Rog will suspend anyone of the Ravens marketing directors over Signgate. Why would he do that you ask? Well because the are making the NFL look bad, and we all know the Rog doesnt tolerate that!

  5. rockthered1286 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:51 AM

    Surprised Angelos didn’t offer to represent.

    If I were the Ravens organization (which to me, really owes him nothing since he sent his fax to the MD Stadium Authority, who may have built the stadium but had nothing to do with the Ravens themselves, therefore there’s no proof they stole it vs MSA turning it over to them as an idea from a fan) I would just lump sum this sucker and get him to sign off saying he will no longer try to sue/collect from the organizations use of the logo. If he declines, I’d black it out and refuse to pay a dime.

    Next up? The cancer patient kid who Cam let call the 1st play of the playoff game against NE 2 years ago (Ray Rice long TD run) is suing for every time they’ve used the same play since then.

  6. janvanflac says: Jul 3, 2012 9:02 AM

    that’s too bad….it’s waaay better than the goofy logo they have now. I always wondered why they switched….

  7. humbleminded85 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:18 AM

    I personally like the newer one but if I’m gonna sue anybody it would be the person who decided we needed to go with Purple as our main color. Not wanting them to totally faze it out but I really wish they would take that Purple and just use it for the trim and numbers like they do with the away white jerseys. With that being said, I’m dying for some football.

  8. joemammy says: Jul 3, 2012 9:20 AM

    Hell, the WHOLE FRANCHISE WAS STOLEN! What’s the big deal about stealing a little logo, as well?

    Of course, the Ravens could simply claim ignorance…which is also known as the “Art Modell Defense.”

  9. laxcoach37 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:26 AM

    This whole story is just that. I lived in Baltimore during this time and remember this like it was yesterday. His “idea” was a drawing with a gemometric shape and a “B” in it. It was not even the same shape of the Shield used and the Font was not even close! Seriously, who would have thunk of a Letter B for Baltimore?

    The sad part is how our legal system gives hope to the “Lottery Mentality”. The legal decision came from a low level district Judge. This case won’t hold water (and it shouldn’t) when it goes to a higher court. The poor Ravens/NFL have to spend money to fight this nonsense. Get this, a few people also claim they picked the colors Purple and Black for their designs and sued as well! C’mon already, go to work, go to Vegas or buy some Lottery Tickets, but enough of the legal Blackjack, uh I mean Blackmail. This Case is Dismissed.

  10. realitypolice says: Jul 3, 2012 9:35 AM

    Just pay the man.

    You clearly stole the logo. The Supreme Court of the United States has said you stole the logo.

    The arrogance of the NFL never ceases to astound me.

  11. ihateravens says: Jul 3, 2012 9:55 AM

    Another reason to Hate The Ravens

  12. ballboy48 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:08 AM

    First they stole the Browns, then they stole someone’s work! Is there anything original about the Ravens?

  13. bhindenemylines says: Jul 3, 2012 10:41 AM

    KGB says ‘Pay zhat man hees money”.

  14. godofwine330 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:47 AM

    As joemammy said, “The whole franchise was stolen”

    And when I was in bootcamp, no less. I will forever remember MM1 Caesar saying, “Guess what? Your teams moving to Baltimore. Ha Ha Ha.”

    But no, seriously. The team needs to Pay The Man. He came up with a design that, if not for his lawsuit the team would probably still be using. The team lost the suit and should pay up. It’s not like they don’t have the money. It’s the right thing to do and the payment will not leave them in dire straits. Give him season tickets on top of that and make it a big PR thing, but pay the man his money.

  15. kattykathy says: Jul 3, 2012 11:36 AM

    laxcoach37 says:

    “The sad part is how our legal system gives hope to the “Lottery Mentality”. The legal decision came from a low level district Judge. This case won’t hold water (and it shouldn’t) when it goes to a higher court. The poor Ravens/NFL have to spend money to fight this nonsense.”


    really? So you know ALL about this like it was yesterday huh?
    Then you would know that the team fought the “low level district Judges decision all the way to the Supreme Court, and EVERY judge along the way sided AGAINST the team.

    You said “this case won’t hold water (and it shouldn’t) when it goes to a higher court”

    Seriously? is there a higher court than the Supreme Court that everyone but you is aware of?

    Next time you feel the need to comment on something you “remember like yesterday”, please stay silent cause you don’t have a freakin clue about yesterday

  16. mswravens says: Jul 3, 2012 1:58 PM

    He owns the logo because a federal court jury held that he owned the logo…that same jury also awarded him $3 in damages, literally. The fight has continued because Mr Duchat is dissatisfied with the damages awarded & is constantly thinking of new ways to try and capitalize on this old, tired issue. I recall thinking at the time that his claim was bogus, but the jury held otherwise & so be it…but they also held he was entitled to, essentially, squat. He needs to accept that finding as well and move on.

  17. golonger says: Jul 3, 2012 2:11 PM

    Also, the designed of the Colts logo never got paid any royalties either…before the days of NFL Properties

  18. golonger says: Jul 3, 2012 2:19 PM

    Of course he owns the logo he draw…nobody is disputing that….he doesnt own the logo the Ravens used…….

  19. golonger says: Jul 3, 2012 2:28 PM

    “Seriously? is there a higher court than the Supreme Court that everyone but you is aware of?”..seriously, can you READ?…the Supreme court never reviewed the case!!

  20. lilmiddle78 says: Jul 3, 2012 3:20 PM

    >>> The team claimed it didn’t know about Bouchat’s drawing, appealing the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Although Bouchat eventually won, he never received a dime in damages from the initial case. <<<

    So the ravens organization appealed the case all the way up to the supreme court and eventually lost when a federal jury found that the logo in question was the property of the fan who drew & faxed it in.. It has yet to be determined how much they would award him for the use of the logo over the last 16 years, but the team still uses the logo & still gets paid on the logo annually from a variety of sources.. Why can't they figure out what percentage is supposed to go to this poor chap?!?!

    If he chooses not to settle for one lump sum then they'll have to pay him royalties on it for the rest of time, or stop using it & simply pay him for its past usage!!

    This isn't some case of a person creating new ways to sue & get paid!! This is pretty cut & dry!! It belongs to him and he needs to be paid

  21. ravenator says: Jul 4, 2012 11:06 AM

    Keep on hating, haters

  22. tfox01 says: Jul 10, 2012 2:40 PM

    I personally know Fred Bouchat. He’s shown me the original drawing. The original drawing had the old Raven’s “B” sheild with the a Raven behind the shield spreading his wings. All the team did was take out the Raven and left the “B” shield and the wings like it was part of the shield.
    When Fred sent it to them, he wrote them and told them that if they like the design they can use it only if they send him an autograph Raven’s football helmet signed by all the players with a written authenticity paper to go with it. They never wrote him back to let him know that he was going to use part of his design nor did they ever send him an authentic autograph football helmet. After writing them about the helmet and using his design they ignored him and never sent anything, not even a letter. So he desided to sue the Ravens and the NFL. He showed me an Oriole’s creation he made that the Orioles actually used on of their broadcast, and they gave him something that was Oriole’s cellectable, I forgot what it was. But the Oriole’s gave him what he wanted. He also sent a WWE design to Vince McMahon and was sent a $500 WWE World Heavyweight Championship Replica title belt. Fred is a collector and all he wanted for his collection was an autographed Raven helmet and he never got it. So he sued the NFL and the team.

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