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New "12th Man" Trademark Tiff Coming Courtesy an MLS Team?

Texas A&M University is the home of the "12th Man," but a sign at the home stadium of a Major League Soccer team makes a similar claim, which could spell another tussle over the trademark.

According to an A&M spokesperson, the university's external trademark counsel is looking into the issue with RFK Stadium, home of DC United. A former university employee recently attended a game there and sent A&M a picture of a sign reading "Home of the 12th Man" that was hanging in the arena.

The university has defended its "12th Man" trademark over the years. The most recent notable example was with the National Football League's Denver Broncos, which drew the ire of A&M as the team made a run to the playoffs with "12th Man" symbols hitting the national airwaves without A&M's permission.

According to the school's spokesperson, the Broncos agreed to discontinue the use of the term. In fact, the only professional or collegiate team with permission to use "12th Man" is the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. That team pays for use of the term and gives credit to A&M when using it.

Originally, the Seahawks used "12th Man" without permission, but in 2006 following a prominent playoff run of their own, the team agreed to a $100,000 initial payment to A&M, plus a $7,500 yearly payment for the trademark's use.

News 3 has reached out to DC United for comment.


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