SBD/March 4, 2013/Colleges

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  • Texas A&M Navigating Tricky Landscape In Protecting QB Johnny Manziel's Trademarks

    Manziel's company has filed two lawsuits to protect the 'Johnny Football' trademark

    The business side of Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel's career is "a complex web of protecting Manziel’s NCAA eligibility, A&M’s trademarks and Manziel’s trademark of his nickname," according to Kate Hairopoulos of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Merchandise items featuring the Heisman-winning QB "line A&M bookstores." Manziel's company, JMAN2 Enterprises, has "filed two lawsuits to protect his nickname." That "leads to a bigger discussion involving the NCAA and student-athletes’ rights to profit." A&M AD Eric Hyman said, "He’s a Heisman (winner), but he is a college student. There are parameters that he needs to understand, but he’s got to be who he is. We can’t cookie-cutter him. We have to allow him the freedom to enjoy college life." Hyman added that A&M has had to "provide Manziel with security at times, including when the football team was honored at an A&M basketball game in January." Hyman said, "I don’t think people can fathom the responsibility that he has and the expectations people have for him. It’s literally off the charts. Everybody wants a piece of him." Hairopoulos wrote protecting Manziel's time "is one thing," but "protecting 'Johnny Football' is another." A&M has a "license with Manziel’s organization to use 'Johnny Football,' royalty free and within NCAA rules." A&M Assistant VP/Business Development Shane Hinckley said, "Name another school that has a licensing agreement with one of their athletes." Meanwhile, School President R. Bowen Loftin said that plans to renovate Kyle Field are "on target," and will be "presented to the Board of Regents in May." Loftin said of the school's first season in the SEC, "I’ve known for a long time, since 2010, that the conference change we effected was the right thing for Texas A&M" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/3).

    POCKET PROTECTION: In Dallas, Hairopoulos reported JMAN2 Enterprises on Friday filed a "second lawsuit to protect his pending trademark 'Johnny Football.'" The suit alleges "trademark infringement from Kevin Doolan or CubbyTees" occurred. CubbyTees.com "appears to offer 'Johnny Football' and 'Johnny Heisman' T-shirts for $19.95." Manziel’s company recently "filed suit against another T-shirt seller, who offered shirts reading 'Keep Calm and Johnny Football'" (DALLASNEWS.com, 3/2).

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