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Believe it or not, the fight over the term “Who Dat” is back in federal court!

Of course, the battle cry is synonymous with the Saints, but a company called Who Dat, Inc. is still claiming to hold a “who dat” trademark. In fact, the company has just filed two more lawsuits against anyone who sells clothes that with “Who Dat” printed on them.

The company tried to do the same thing right after our Super Bowl win in 2010, and although there was never a court ruling in that case, the general consensus was that “Who Dat” belongs to all of us: it’s in the public domain, and can’t be trademarked, even if this company keeps trying!

who dat 03Small business owners selling “Who Dat” gear are banding together to fight the man who says he owns the phrase, and will shut down any business selling “Who Dat” stuff.

The group met last night Uptown to consult with an attorney.

Steve Zibilich owns Who Dat Snacks. He explains, “I received a letter from the attorneys in Texas, saying they owned the name “Who Dat” and that I should cease and desist or face the possibility of a lawsuit.”

Zibilich is talking about Steve Monistere. He and his brother trademarked “Who Dat” for commercial use in the 80’s. Zibilich says, “We were licensed by the Secretary of State in Louisiana, we have a business license, we’re insured and now, we can’t operate for fear of this guy coming along and taking our profits.”

Attorney Ernie Svenson says he thinks there’s a good chance Steve Monistere would lose his case in court, because “Who Dat” has become such a popular phrase. “If that was a phrase that was commonly used for a long period of time and that can be proven, and it seems like a lot of people are saying that’s true, then it should not be something that should be trade-markable” Svenson says.

While many of these people are still weighing their options, the owner of Fleurty Girl t-shirt company, Lauren Thom, has decided she’s going to fight Steve Monistere for what she thinks is right. “I am absolutely going to keep selling the shirts” Thom says.

So now the waiting game begins, to see if Steve Monistere will actually take each one of these business owners to court.

News
09/18/10

‘Who Dat’ debate is back; Businesses get new warning

who dat 02The war over the words “Who Dat” is heating up. But this time the Saints and the NFL are not part of the debate.

Two musicians say they’re ready to go to court to defend their trademark.

The popular t-shirt boutique along Magazine, Storyville, is bustling with business. Alli Granier, the store manager says, “we opened at 10 this morning and we already had a multitude of customers in the store.” Granier says these days, a lot of customers are eyeing one thing, black and gold “Who Dat” gear. Shopper Michael Bruce says, “I like wearing it you know as much as possible.”

They are popular shirts stirring up a whole lot of controversy. Sal and Steve Monistere of Who Dat Inc. claim they coined the slogan. They want this business, Fleurty Girl down the street, and others that sell the “Who Dat” merchandise to work out a deal. They’re giving the shops till the end of the month. The brothers recently sent a cease and desist letter to local businesses. It basically says if the stores don’t take action, the brothers will in court.

Storyville posted the latest letter on its wall. Shopper Julie Williams says, “I think that’s pretty ridiculous I think that’s a New Orleans saying and I think that should stick with New Orleans.” Another shopper says, “I think they are kinda trying to hop on the bandwagon and that’s not right.” Tourist Mary Cerceo adds, “I would hope no one has the rights to it who dat is a spirit lifter for everybody, but if someone has trademarks.”

The owner of Storyville says Who Dat Inc. is asking for a nearly 10% royalty cut. This shop doesn’t plan on taking its goods off the shelves anytime soon. Granier says, “we are not going to listen to them we are going to continue to print “Who Dat” shirts much as we want and hopefully people continue to buy them.”

Fleurty Girl even made black and gold ribbons hoping shoppers show their support for the businesses during Monday night’s game.

Sal and Steve Monistere sent us this statement: “As the trademark owners, we are required by federal law to enforce our mark and defend our rights. Without the opportunity to come to a business solution, we have no choice but to pursue legal remedies. The law demands that we do so.”

who dat 01(AP) – A court fight over who owns the rights to “Who Dat?” is escalating with the NFL and the New Orleans Saints filing trademark counterclaims against the company that made a 1983 recording of what became the popular cheer of Saints fans.

On March 4, Who Dat? Inc. filed suit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, claiming trademark rights to the phrase and alleging NFL Properties and the Saints were infringing on it.

Now, NFL Properties and the Saints not only have denied the company’s allegations – but say Who Dat? Inc. has violated their trademarks.

CaptureThe company that made a 1983 recording of what became one of the New Orleans Saints’ most popular cheers has filed a trademark suit against the state and the team.

NFL Properties LLC, which deals with National Football League trademarks, is also a defendant in the suit filed Thursday in federal district court in Baton Rouge by Who Dat? Inc.

It claims the defendants damaged its right to profit before the Saints’ Super Bowl championship last month.

NFL Properties claimed rights to the phrase and the fleur-de-lis, which the team uses as a logo. But it backed down after state Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell said both are public domain.

Caldwell said on Friday he stands by that: nobody owns the right to either.

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