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Another reason to hate Los Doyers

Sep 13, 2010, 8:45 AM EDT

Never heard of "Los Doyers?" Then read on, mi amigo.

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
those words.

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?

  1. Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    You can trademark something that’s already in common usage? I didn’t think that was allowed.

  2. CM_Wang - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    I believe will get the rights to “Los Doyers” in the divorce. Along with Frank’s huevos.

  3. JB (the original) - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Time for Los Dicks to make an appearance apparently.

  4. Jonny5 - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Isn’t this the intellectual property of Mr. Morales? I’d say if the Doyers didn’t pay him off he’d have grounds to sue them. And since we hear no lawsuit from Morales, wouldn’t that point to some sort of payoff? I’ve seen the same sort of thing going on with the Phillies, anyone see the “ill” shirts, and sweatpants?

  5. BC - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    McCourt has to pay his divorce attorney somehow, I guess….

  6. InnocentBystander - Sep 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    I agree, if for no other reason that the fans generally come up with more creative stuff than the teams do – probably because the teams have to toe the PC line. This is a bit dated, but I bought this one a few years ago…

  7. JB (the original) - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    That reminds me of one I saw (only for a day or so) after the Diamondbacks went to their current uniform interation. Instead of D-Backs it had D-Bags. Apparently from an unhappy fan who didn’t like the direction the team was going.

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