Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel is well known by his on the field nickname, “Johnny Football.” So well known in fact, that his family decided to license the phrase during the 2012 college football season. A strategic move at the time, as Johnny Football was turning heads on and off the field on the way to securing a Heisman trophy.
As it turns out licensing the phrase was very smart. Because according to Southwest Texas Record, JMAN2 Enterprises LLC has filed a suit on behalf of Johnny Manziel. The suit is against Eric Vaughn, who is accused of selling t-shirts with the aforementioned “Johnny Football” phrase on it.
The defendant is accused of trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, Texas unfair competition, including right of publicity, palming off and misappropriation.
JMAN2 Enterprises is asking the court for injunctive relief and an award of damages for the unlawful sale of goods, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, interest, and court costs.
The plaintiff is represented by J. Bennett White and Virgil J. Jordan of J. Bennett White PC in Tyler.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.
It will be interesting to see if Manziel wins the suit, because this would be the exact reason why the family wanted to protect themselves by trademarking the phrase during the season.
Also worth noting that according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Manziel can keep any money won in the suit without violating NCAA rules.