Sep 13, 2010, 8:45 AM EDT
Yes, maybe hate is too strong a word, but the Dodgers have done much to make themselves hard to like this year, a trademark crackdown being just the latest example:
After hiking up ticket prices and parking fees
during a less than stellar season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made
another unpopular move: The team has trademarked the popular term “Los
Doyers,” outlawing vendors from selling unauthorized apparel bearing
For years “Los Doyers” T-shirts have been popular among fans, and a
big seller at Manny Morales’ Latin Lingo clothing stores. But as of
Saturday, these shirts are no longer for sale.
To be clear: I understand why the Dodgers are doing this: you have to protect your trademarks in this world, or else you’ll lose them. The shirts Manny Morales is selling are infringing on the Dodgers’ trademark, especially given the distinctive Dodgers script . The Dodgers couldn’t simply let things stand as they were.
But nor did they have to do what they did: shut down the sale of the shirts by Morales and start selling “Los Doyers” shirts themselves in what appears to be a cynical cash grab. I mean, it’s not like the Dodgers were selling “Los Doyers” shirts themselves and merely wanted to enforce their rights against an illegal competitor. It appears as though making and selling such shirts never occurred to them.
I’m not a trademark expert by any stretch of the imagination, but why didn’t the Dodgers get creative here and offer Manny Morales some kind of cheapo license/profit split deal that (a) protects the team’s script “Dodgers” trademark and allows the team to realize some money from its use; while (b) fostering fan appreciation
for the team and cultivating some goodwill among local business; and (c) rewarding Morales for coming up with a pretty nifty product no one with the team had saw fit to create before now?
You telling me that Manny Morales wouldn’t have been grateful to the Dodgers for not slamming him with a trademark suit? I’m guessing he would have carried and pushed a bunch more Dodgers merch if asked to in a creative deal. It also could pave the way for a lot more under the radar licensed sales deals in which Dodgers product was sold under the auspices of local, independent businesses instead of the MLB team shop. There’s a sector of the public that cares about such things, you know. The only question is whether trademark law or the Dodgers’ deal with MLB prohibits such a thing, but I can’t see how that would be the case. Please, someone tell me if I’m missing something here.
Unless informed otherwise, this seems like a situation in which the Dodgers are squelching the initiatives, however problematic, of
people who have some genuine affection for the team. Couldn’t there have been a better way to handle this? One in which I could buy a “Los Doyers” shirt in good conscience? Because, man, if I knew those were out there I totally would have snatched one up before it became an Official Product of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball under what appear to be heavy handed circumstances. They’re pretty damn spiffy, no?
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