Manziel files lawsuit over use of nickname
FEB 23, 2013 12:27p ET
Manziel's corporation, JMAN2 Enterprises, is suing a T-shirt seller over trademark infringement for using the Johnny Football nickname. The T-shirts the lawsuit claims were sold by Eric Vaughn read “Keep Calm and Johnny Football.”
It's no surprise outside entrepreneurs would want to capitalize on Johnny Football mania. What makes this case interesting is that the NCAA would allow Manziel to keep any monetary damages awarded from the lawsuit, according to ESPN sports business writer Darren Rovell.
So Manziel can't make money off his name, but he can make money off of preventing others from doing so.
The lawsuit was reported in the The Southeast Texas Record. Manziel has applied for trademark rights to the Johnny Football name, and until they are awarded he can claim common law ownership. In other words, there's no doubt who the term “Johnny Football” refers to after a season's worth of publicity.
JMAN2 Enterprises was set up by the Manziel family to protect the Texas A&M quarterback's name and image. It cannot capitalize on his name financially until his NCAA eligibility expires or he declares early for the NFL Draft, but it can keep others from doing so.
By NCAA rules, Texas A&M can use Manziel's name and image in promotions and publications, such as game-day programs. It cannot use his name on products like jerseys and T-shirts.
The Manziel lawsuit aims to make sure no one else can use the Johnny Football name on T-shirts, either.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire