Defend New Orleans: In a recent development, the National Football League (NFL) has ordered local New Orleans lifestyle brand, DNO, to stop using its popular “Defend New Orleans” T-shirts and apparel featuring a distinctive fleur-de-lis with skulls.
In a letter dated July 17, the NFL claims that DNO’s founder and owner, Jack Curry, is using unauthorized marks that are “confusingly similar” to the NFL’s trademarks. The NFL urges DNOs to refrain from using logos or symbols that may mislead customers into believing that they are affiliated with or licensed by the NFL or the Saints Club.
The centerpiece of Defend New Orleans
Central to this debate is the iconic fleur-de-lis, which holds a deep historical significance in New Orleans in 1718. It was later featured on the city’s official flag from 1918. It was named after the Duke of Orléans, Philippe II, whose family coat of arms featured the fleur-de-lis, a symbol that became synonymous with the region.
Why was the “Defend New Orleans” T-shirt designed?
DNO’s “Defend New Orleans” T-shirts, designed to protest gentrification, gained significant prominence after Hurricane Katrina. Since 2003, it has been a symbol of hope and pride for one of the world’s most resilient cities. Scott Sternberg, the attorney representing Curry, argued that fleur-de-lis has been in use for more than 20 years and is a registered trademark along with his mark design.
The NFL has requested the DNO to stop using the fleur-de-lis design with the skull, which carries a powerful and unoriginal meaning, by July 24. The dispute between the NFL and DNO has raised questions about the interpretation of historical symbols as trademarks.
While the NFL has not responded to requests for comment, DNO has stuck to its stance, stating that they have sold the merchandise for 20 years without any solid evidence of infringement or legal risk.
Focus Shifted to Fleur-de-Lis
Interestingly, the NFL previously used the “Who Dat?” Tried to claim rights. the phrase, which was a popular slogan among Saints fans in the 1980s. However, this claim was dropped after the Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl. Now, the focus has shifted to the fleur-de-lis, an enduring symbol deeply intertwined with the identity of New Orleans.
Fleur-de-lis is not just a trademark but the spirit of the city
As the legal battle unfolds, one thing becomes clear: fleur-de-lis is not just a trademark but a symbol of the city’s spirit, history, and resilience. The outcome of this dispute may set a precedent for similar cases in the future. Let’s hope a solution is found respecting the cultural significance of the symbols while protecting intellectual property rights.