Texas A&M has been under fire for threatening legal action against the Buffalo Bills fan group 12th Man Thunder for their "12th Man" trademark infringement. A cease and desist letter wouldn't usually draw the ire of TV personalities like Keith Olbermann, but one of this group's founders is a double amputee cancer survivor. After months of public outcry on social media, the two parties finally reached a settlement today.
In the past, Texas A&M has resolved similar trademark disputes with fan groups in Seattle. The Seahawks' use of the 12th Man is widely recognized by the public, so it's not surprising to see fan groups attempting to capitalize. While the agreement between the Seahawks and Texas A&M is well publicized, the details of Texas A&M's agreement with the Buffalo Bills is unfamiliar. Given the Bills' current ownership and stadium status, the details of this agreement illuminate Texas A&M's motives in taking strong action against Buffalo fan groups.
Download the file here: Texas A&M Buffalo Bills 12th Man Agreement
There are three major points of interest in the agreement.
- Buffalo is only allowed use of the trademark on the side of Ralph Wilson Stadium.
- This agreement ONLY terminates if and when the Bills move out of Ralph Wilson Stadium.
- Buffalo paid a one-time fee of $5,000 for this use of the 12th Man trademark.
The Bills will lose their right to use the "12th Man" trademark in any capacity if they move out of their stadium. This explains why Texas A&M pinned itself in a public relations corner against the 12th Man Thunder fan group. Should Texas A&M find itself in court with the future owner of the Bills regarding the use of 12th Man, a clear history of trademark defense in the region will help.