On October 20th, Saints quarterback Drew Brees (or his agents, anyway) sent his mom a letter demanding that she cease and desist using his name and likeness in a TV commercial. Mina Brees is running for a spot on the Texas Court of Appeals.
In the commercial, Mina Brees notes that she is the mother of Drew Brees, the sister of former Texas quarterback Marty Akins, and the daughter of longtime high school football coach Ray Akins. She says that the commercial is intended to identify her with her sports-oriented family, which she says taught her the value of preparation and hard work.
They apparently didn’t talk much about intellectual-property law around the dinner table, though, or at least that’s what CCA Sports and its attorneys implied with their letter. "The unauthorized misappropriation of an individual’s indicia (picture, name, etc.) for this current purpose is an infringement of his personal rights, property rights and common law trademark rights," the letter states. Probably a standard form letter that they have to send out to everyone who mentions Drew, but maybe one of our IP readers can clarify whether a trademark can really be diluted just because your mom uses your "indicia."
Mina Brees agreed to stop using the spot. Her media consultants were to have new spots ready on October 30. They will feature a different son, Reid, who is presumably not trademarked.
The incumbent judge, David Puryear, declined to comment, saying that the focus "should be on the qualifications of the candidates." Refreshing, but not really part of the game plan this time of year, as the chairman of the Travis County GOP made clear in a written statement. He called for Brees to withdraw from the race because of her shocking conduct. "Her failure to act appropriately and inform media outlets of her wrongful use of Drew Brees’ indicia subjects her to litigation and demonstrates her morally rudderless political opportunism," the statement said.
Well, that’s okay, but not great. Let’s see if we can punch it up a little bit. How about something like this:
Until this moment, Ms. Brees, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to your own son’s indicia. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your morally rudderless political opportunism, I would do so. I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. Let us not assassinate this lad’s indicia further, Ms. Brees. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, ma’am, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
Yeah, that’s more like it.
Link: Law.com (reprinted from Texas Lawyer)
Link: "No sense of decency"