On Wednesday afternoon, Texas A&M officials reached a settlement agreement with the Indianapolis Colts regarding their use of "the 12th Man," a term which Texas A&M trademarked in 1990. Texas A&M filed the suit in November 2015, and the university first contacted the Colts regarding the use of the mark in 2006. The most prominent example of the Colts using the "12th Man" mark is in their ring of honor inside the stadium, which was added in December of 2007.
Per the lawsuit filed by A&M, the Colts and A&M had an informal agreement in place in 2006 which allowed the use of the mark by the Colts within the stadium. After not adhering to that agreement, Texas A&M issued cease and desist letters in 2008 and 2012, which the Colts did not respond to.
But A&M had more success in this attempt, as the Colts have agreed to "immediately cease all use of '12th Man'" trademark with the exception of the 12th Man display from their "Ring of Honor," which they must remove before the kickoff of the 2016 NFL Season.
The settlement is embedded below.
This is the third time Texas A&M has pursued legal action against an NFL franchise for use of the 12th Man trademark, and each has ended with the franchises formally acknowledging Texas A&M as the trademark's sole owner. A&M currently has licensing agreements in place with the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills.
A&M's agreement with the Seahawks expires this June. Shane Hinckley, Texas A&M Assistant Vice President of Business Development, says that Texas A&M has already been in contact with the Seahawks regarding the expiring contract, and that the result of this settlement with the Colts has not changed their current course of action regarding ongoing negotiations.
For more details about the history of Texas A&M's defense of the 12th Man trademark, read our Q&A with Shane Hinckley.