No 12th Man Hearing in Aggieland

The 85th District Court will not be the site of an A&M-Seahawk showdown.

Late Thursday morning, Seattle filed a notice of removal with Brazos County. Now, the battle over the 12th Man will head to Houston.

Texas A&M got a call from the Seahawks around 10 am Thursday to inform them of the change of plans. The notice was officially filed just before noon.

And as Seattle prepares for Super Bowl 40, A&M's chief marketing officer says the team's success was a factor in the university's action.

"What really forced our hand, quite frankly, was the championship game and the Super Bowl run," said Steve Moore, "because in trademark law, if someone is infringing on your trademark and you're aware of it and it's on a national stage like that where you really couldn't say, 'We didn't know about it,' or, 'We weren't aware of it,' you have to do something."

And that something is still a court date, but it's now in a court in Houston, and that date looks to be in the summer. According to the federal court offices in the Bayou City, Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., will preside in the A&M v. Seahawks case, and an initial hearing is set for June 16.

Texas A&M continues to claim they have been harmed by Seattle's use of the 12th Man term, one which the university trademarked in 1990. It's not the first time the Aggies have gone after a team or school for use of the 12th Man. In fact, A&M's gone after other entities within the last few weeks.

"Anytime we find instances of it, we send them cease and desist orders," said Moore. "That's the normal course of events. And anytime a new one comes up, we do that. In fact, we have sent some out just recently, that's correct."

In a report Tuesday night on News 3, we found the NFL's Buffalo Bills running a 12th Man online contest, as well as other professional and collegiate teams using it.

Moore would not reveal who had recently received those cease and desist letters, but said it was between three and four organizations.

The hearing to determine whether a permanent injunction would be issued was scheduled to take place in 85th District Court at 1:30pm Thursday.

Tuesday, a top Texas A&M official put the odds at "50-50" that the Seattle Seahawks would ask for a change of venue in their 12th Man dispute.

A&M says the Seahawks have illegally used their trademarked "12th Man" to refer to Seattle fans. The Seahawks argue that A&M has not been damaged by their actions.

Calls to the Seahawks have not been returned. The majority of the franchise's staff is in Detroit for Sunday's Super Bowl XL, which will feature the Seahawks against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was last week that the university sought and obtained a temporary restraining order from Judge J. D. Langley.


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