Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On one of the University of Alabama's few losses.

Unlike its football team, the University of Alabama lost a recent court battle with an artist who has painted realistic scenes of the school's football games since 1979. The school sued the artist for trademark infringement, unfair competition and breach of contract. In 2012, the district and appellate courts sided with the artist on the trademark infringement and unfair competition claims. The school argued that the artist could not sell reprints of the painted scenes, because they contained the Alabama trademarks. The artist said both the artwork and reprints were protected speech under the First Amendment. The courts agreed with the artist on those claims.

In 2013, the district court sided with the artist on the breach of contract claim, because it found the school effectively waived its right to sue. The court said one of the licensing agreements was breached, but the University lost its right to claim a breach of contract when it sold the artist's reprints to which it was objecting in the lawsuit. The court basically said the school could not have its cake and eat it too.

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