By Lew Patton
The Seahawks have a problem, unrelated to the outcome of the football game played on February 1.
Via KING-5 News in Seattle, the team’s license to use the 12th Man slogan expires soon.
The term was first used by Texas A&M, years ago. In 1990, the school obtained federal trademark protection for the 12th Man phrase.
Litigation against the Seahawks resulted in a settlement that acknowledged Texas A&M’s rights to the label, and that licensed the Seahawks to make limited use of the term for payment of only $5,000 per year.
The deal, struck in 2006 and renewed in 2011, runs out in 2016. Texas A&M says that negotiations on an extension have begun, and that the school would like to continue the arrangement.
The question becomes how much Texas A&M will want, in light of the fact that the Seahawks have gained considerable notoriety — and generated significant money — through the use of the number 12, which shows up on flags and jerseys sold by the franchise. Given that the team is owned by a billionaire and that the Seahawks generating millions every year, Texas A&M should be asking for a lot more than $5,000 per year in the current talks.