Our friends in the Pacific Northwest have settled a dispute over how they have tried to brand the team. The team reached a licensing agreement with Texas A&M University over the use of the 12th Man trademark. The team has never been able to put “12th Man” on official merchandise, but the new deal means they cannot include it in their Ring of Honor, and cannot use the phrase in social media. They will pay a new royalty fee (unknown amount) and contribute to A&M’s legal bills to protect the mark.
The “12th Man” has become a big thing in Seattle, with heavy promotion of the 12s and other assorted ways of saying they’re that extra man on the field. Most teams find some way to do it, but the Seahawks have been as prominent as anybody, thanks in large part to their recent run of success. Texas A&M had trademarked 12th Man in 1990, and Seattle started using it without permission before agreeing to an initial licensing fee. The Indianapolis Colts tried using it as well, and the university filed suit. They dropped the lawsuit when the Colts agreed to not use it anymore.
The Seahawks will not be using “12th Man,” but as Darren Rovell points out in the article linked above, the team has been moving toward more use of things like 12 and 12s. They are trying to trademark 12 and 12s, among other things, because you gotta monetize that fanbase, as the “Faithful” are only too aware!