NFL Harshes on 420 Football League’s Trademark Mellow

Do you need to be high in order to be confused?

The 420 Football League is an interesting concept. A bunch of stoners got together and made a sport out of smoking dope. You snap the ball by taking a toke, and you advance the ball one yard for each second that you can hold the hit. (source)

The NFL is not amused, and they sent a cease and desist letter to the 420 League. I’d say that the NFL probably has a decent dilution argument. On the other hand, the 420 league has a good parody defense. Of course, it would be a lot cheaper and easier to just change the logo.

H/T: Wimberly

15 Responses to NFL Harshes on 420 Football League’s Trademark Mellow

  1. jfischer1975 says:

    Parody?  Or satire?  Close call.  Hopefully, 420’s attorney can articulate the difference and make a compelling case for how they needed to use some the NFL logo specifically to make fun of football and the NFL — that is if they don’t just come up with a new one, like you said.

  2. Yeah, I am sure that a decent attorney could make the argument and make it stick. I’m also sure that these guys would rather sit down with some magic markers and figure out a new logo rather than scrape together enough money to hire a good attorney. And don’t fuckin look at me, my pro bono calendar is full enough already.

    • splifton says:

      Pro bono Calendar is full enough already?

      You mean to tell me that you do not relish in lambasting individuals like Glen Beck in the name of free speech with your spare time? Or are you trying to tell me that dealing with all of the porn “talent” is too arduous and time consuming. I do agree however that the NFL will stop at nothing to protect their cash cow, but you could be a hero to the pot smoking community (especially in Ca).

      BTW- Are you still the “Noted 1st Amendment Attorney” for Fox and Friends?

      -Splifton

  3. Alan says:

    Here’s the difference: the 420 League doesn’t do ‘roids. Case closed.

  4. evrenseven says:

    I dunno, I think it’s kind of hard to call this a parody… I’d say it’s unprotected satire. I forget- does dilution require confusion?

    • It may be satire, which is not protected. On the other hand, you could argue that it is parodical with respect to the NFL. I think that claim would be stronger if the logo had steroid syringes instead of pot leaves.

      • Marc says:

        The NFL is almost as hypocritical with regard to weed as they are with regard to steroids…

        Not a season (or off-season) goes by that some player or draftee doesn’t have to go to rehab for violating the league’s substance abuse (gotta love the use of the word “abuse”) policy for pot…. One recent example is Santonio Holmes who caused a minor “scandal” when he tweeted that it was time to wake n bake… Oops.

        Another is Aaron Hernandez, drafted this year by the Patriots in the 4th round. There was a minor “controversy” about the fact that he once failed a drug test in college for weed. Can you imagine? A college kid smoking weed? Next we’ll find out they’re having sex out of wedlock!

  5. Jay says:

    Not sure Parody will hold up. But I don’t know enough about the issue and have a few questions.

    My guess is that these guys did not truly intend to lampoon or parody the NFL so much as to actually attract people to 420 Football through the similarity of the marks. Basic infringement.

    However, can an infringing mark that was not created out of parody become parody? That is, if today they suddenly start making direct fun of the NFL such that it would now be parody, would they be off the hook?

    [Also, could it work in the reverse? Could what was once parody lose parody status? E.g., I start out with a funny site that makes T-Shirts for a fake “Scrapple iToons”, but lose that if I start developing an online media distribution system under that name?]

  6. Sam Paris says:

    For legal purposes, what is the difference between parody and satire?

  7. Ida Pandey says:

    I smoked cigarettes for as long as i can remember and finally quitting seemed to be harder than you can imagine. I tried using the different stopping hints still not one thing worked for me. Then I heard about the electric cigarette. The e-cigarette utilizes a nicotine juice that is created from just nicotine. Not any poisons at all. They have literally improved my life.

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