Las Vegas law firm sues NFL over effort to shut down commercial featuring Maxx Crosby in generic uniform

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
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The NFL has a habit of zealously defending its various trademarks and logos. The league has landed in a legal issue over an effort to defend trademarks and logos when no trademarks or logos were being used.

The Dimopoulos Law Firm has sued the NFL, in response to a cease-and-desist letter threatening “heightened legal penalties” over a commercial including Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby in a silver and black uniform that does not include any logos or trademarks owned by the league or the Raiders.

The lawsuit, which can be seen here, seeks a declaratory judgment (in English, a ruling that the NFL is wrong and the law firm is right) on the question of whether the commercial crosses the line into infringement.

The firm began using the commercial last month. On February 22, NFL Properties allegedly sent a cease-and-desist letter vowing to file a lawsuit against the law firm.

In the commercial, Crosby wears a black football jersey with silver letters and numbers. No names or logos (other than “Crosby”) can be seen. He also has a silver helmet with no logo.

The league demanded a response by March 1. It got one, in the form of the lawsuit.

Is this potentially a Slippin’ Jimmy-style effort by the Dimopoulos Law Firm to get a little free publicity? Sure. But so what? The NFL threatened the firm with a fight, and the firm decided to take the fight to the NFL.

Thus, the story is significant — even if it also gives the Dimopoulos firm some organic attention that it possibly didn’t expect when hiring Crosby to appear in the commercial.

14 responses to “Las Vegas law firm sues NFL over effort to shut down commercial featuring Maxx Crosby in generic uniform

  1. Businesses have successfully protected colors and color schemes as part of their trademark, so there is a president here. The Dimopoulos Law Firm could easily lose this battle.

  2. I’m not sure the Dimopoulus Law Firm needs more publicity…they have billboards all over Vegas!!! Between them and Naqvi I sure as hell know who to go to if I’m suing someone in Vegas but this seems more of like a middle finger to the NFL.

  3. Worked at a law firm with a sizeable IP client base. Had one of the attorney’s explain to me once that if you don’t aggressively pursue infringements, of any kind, that it can used against you later when you do pursue. You’ve basically established a pattern of letting some people infringe but not others. Made sense to me. Even the guy on the corner selling fake t-shirts needs to be dealt with, otherwise a giant retailer can establish a pattern and do it too.

  4. There used to be a Ryan Clark Billboard on my way to work that had him in Black and Gold and called him a “Steeler” without the logo. My recollection was they said on the radio that Steeler was not trademarked but Steelers was. He retired a long time ago, so I may not be remembering that correctly.

  5. Hilarious that the league threatened a law firm over a commercial with a singular message – We Win.

    I assume a law firm with the resources to use professional athletes in a commercial also has some knowledge of copyright law. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  6. A law firm using Jon Jones in their commercial is the best thing I’ve seen in advertising in years.

  7. Did football exist before the NFL? Does it exist without the NFL? Of course it does. The NFL has no standing what-so-ever. Even the word “RAIDERS” is not exclusive to the NFL. Can Maxx no longer wear black? It’s simply ridiculous.

  8. The shield and the black stripe on the helmet? Not generic. Obviously meant to confuse. But seriously? Using the Raiders to infer that “we win?”

    If Dmopolous is as good at defending you as the Raiders defense is – I’d look elsewhere.

  9. Hasn’t this been done a million times in commercials already – players in generic uniforms? The NFL can’t copyright the colors black and silver.

  10. Russell Wilson vs. Colin Kaepernick ran as a commercial series a few years ago and neither was wearing “NFL” logo wear, but we ALL KNEW who they represented. Did this series of commercials get shut down? Not that I remember. It was a “thing” for a year or more.

  11. I love it …lawyers fighting lawyers!!!! Now that’s quality entertainment.

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