July 29, 2002
How not to market your product

Jeff Cooper writes of a longtime Mets fan site which has received a cease-and-desist order from Major League Baseball. He looks at from the viewpoint of trademark law and the doctrine of "laches", which I need to go and look up. (I love learning new stuff like this.)

Cooper rightly notes that regardless of the legality of the situation, the defendant is a 20-year-old college student who's doing this on his own, and thus is in no position to litigate against a multimillion dollar industry. He further notes that this is a prime example of what the Baseball Prospectus calls "anti-marketing", something that Beelzebud and his cronies excel at.

I do have some good news for you, Jeff. Kevin Whited has followed the case of an Astros fan blog that was threatened by MLB but in the end was allowed to live. And after the BP ran this article about how baseball can and should build its fan base, they got this response which talks about what some teams do do. Maybe, just maybe, there's some hope here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 29, 2002 to Baseball

Jeez, I'm glad the football clubs in England aren't like that..........yet.

Arsenal, the club I support and do the blog about took a street trader to court last year for selling unlicensed merchandise. They even changed the club badge because they couldn't properly trademark or copyright the old one.

So stories like that one are not too far away perhaps.....

Posted by: arseblogger on July 30, 2002 5:06 AM

I can understand MLB's concern about trademarks and unlicensed use of team logos and whatnot, but there's gotta be a less alienating way to deal with it than heavyhanded cease-and-desist letters and threats of legal action. Like maybe contacting the fans to pay some nominal fee to license the images and sign a form that affirms the teams' ownership of them.

I hope the football clubs take a lesson and try to accomodate the fans. The general rule they should know is: That which the baseball owners do is very likely wrong.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 30, 2002 7:15 AM