National Football League teams provide their owners and, occasionally, their fans with many opportunities to profit from the teams’ images in their respective communities. Back in 2010, when the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl championship, fans were chanting the slogan “Who Dat?” to show their support for the team. As the Super Bowl celebration faded, a New Orleans attorney and former councilman began to visualize how he could earn a profit by changing the slogan slightly, but significantly.
The change emphasized the Saints’ run at a second Super Bowl title. The lawyer, Wayne Babovich, decided that “Two Dat” would have significant marketing opportunities if the Saints made another run at a Super Bowl title. In 2010, he formed a corporation called “Two Dat, Inc.” and filed an application to make “Two Dat” a registered trademark. Unfortunately, another party had the same idea regarding the original slogan. A firm called Who Dat, Inc. owned the trademark rights to “Who Dat.” Anticipating the potential conflict over very similar slogans, the two parties signed an agreement in 2010 in which they agreed to share profits earned by their respective trademarks.
Apparently, the parties were still unable to avoid conflict. Babovich filed a lawsuit against Who Dat, Inc., claiming that the corporation failed to pay royalties that it owed to Two Dat on the sale of merchandise. The validity of the Who Dat trademark was established in a previous lawsuit, but the company is challenging the validity of the Two Dat trademark in the current lawsuit. The lawsuit appears to be far from a resolution at this point, and the effect of the Saints’ success in reaching the 2019 Super Bowl remains to be determined.
This lawsuit shows how even a carefully negotiated business agreement can go off the rails. Anyone in the midst of a similar dispute may wish to consult an experienced business law attorney for advice on strategy and settlement negotiations.