Victory for Baylor University in Trademark Case Against Vintage Brand, Sportswear Inc., and Chad Hartvigson

The case centered on trademark counterfeiting and infringement in the collegiate licensing space. It was heard by Judge Albright in Federal District Court in the Western District of Texas.

Background:Baylor University, a renowned educational institution with nationally dominant athletics programs, became aware that its former licensee and related parties were engaging in the unauthorized manufacture, sale, and advertising of products using Baylor’s federally registered marks.


Baylor sued the defendants for infringement and counterfeiting. The defendants employed several defense strategies, claiming their use of Baylor’s marks was merely ornamental, that website disclaimers were sufficient to prevent confusion, and asserting that the copied marks were in the public domain. They also counterclaimed to cancel some of Baylor’s registered trademarks.


The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. In what ended up as a happy Valentine’s Day for Baylor, Judge Albright held that the defendants had infringed Baylor’s trademarks as a matter of law. The Court also disposed of all of the defendants’ counterclaims and defenses, and awarded Baylor its attorney’s fees.


Settlement and Court Ruling: The case was later settled the week before trial on Baylor’s counterfeiting claims. The settlement included a consent judgment making final the court’s summary judgment order. It detailed a broad permanent injunction against all defendants, and awarded Baylor its attorney’s fees and damages in amounts specified in a confidential settlement agreement.

Outlook: The issues raised in this lawsuit have significant implications for the collegiate licensing industry generally. One or more of the same defendants have faced lawsuits initiated by over 20 other collegiate institutions across the United States and over many years. Baylor’s victory is a decisive win against these defendants as well as a clear message to those who might otherwise seek to exploit Baylor’s goodwill without its authorization.

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