The battle is once again brewing over who owns the phrase “Who Dat.” WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano says just today a North Shore businessman filed a counter claim sending a clear message: don’t mess with the Who Dat Nation.
“Who Dat say is going to beat them Saints. Who Dat?”
It’s a chant synonymous with Saints fans. It’s a term some argue belongs to the Who Dat Nation, but now, yet again, questions over who owns the phrase “Who Dat” are front and center.
“We were sued by Who Dat ?, Inc. claiming that I could not use the name on my building. I never thought that could be possible,” explains business owner Ronald Dunaway.
Since 2007 Ronald Dunaway has owned the Who Dat Shoppe in Slidell. It’s been smooth sailing until this past December when they were sued by Who Dat?, Incorporated. Dunaway removed the signs that now sit blocks away, but after more turmoil he decided to counter sue.
“They want to steal the Who Dat phrase and franchise Who Dat stores throughout Southeast Louisiana and I have no intention to let that happen,” says Dunaway.
Dunaway’s attorney Mark Andrews calls the lawsuit abusive and threatening.
“If it were a trademark for anybody it would be a trademark for the football team, but the football team has said it belongs to the public. They sent a letter in February of 2010, in the big run up to the Super Bowl, that said Who Dat and Who Dat Nation are public domain,” explains Andrews.
Andrews says back in the 80’s Who Dat?, Inc. successfully got federal trademark registrations on ‘Who Dat’ and ‘Two Dat,’ but he says those registrations expired and Who Dat?, Inc. was not in business when Dunaway opened the Who Dat Shoppe in Slidell.
“As far as I’m concerned they dropped the ball. I just happened to pick it up at the right time,” says Dunaway.
The case is set to go to trial in January.
Dunaway and his attorney hope to cancel those expired registrations Who Dat Incorporated is holding on to once and for all, and put the Who Dat debate to rest.