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Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
346 F.3d 514 (2003)


Facts

In 1995, the National Football League (NFL) announced that the Cleveland Browns franchise would be moved to Baltimore, and a new name would be chosen. A resident of Baltimore, Frederick Bouchat (plaintiff), decided to create several potential logos for each of the team names under consideration. Bouchat sent a copy of his Ravens logo to the Maryland Stadium Authority when the name Ravens was selected and requested that the logo be provided to the team for consideration. The Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Incorporated (the Ravens) (defendant) adopted the new logo, the Flying B, which resembled Bouchat’s proposed logo. Bouchat sued the National Football League Properties, Incorporated (NFLP) (defendant) and the Ravens for copyright infringement. At trial, the jury found that NFLP accidentally infringed on Bouchat’s copyright in his logo design and that the Ravens did not know about the infringement when the NFLP’s Flying B logo was adopted. The Flying B was used as the main logo and thus appeared on the playing field, game tickets, banners, and merchandise, including jerseys. Additionally, merchandise retailers had to pay a minimum fee to the NFLP if licensing from sales did not meet the specified minimum. The district court excluded certain categories of revenue, such as the minimum-licensing fee and ticket sales, from consideration by the jury in awarding damages to Bouchat. Bouchat appealed the damages awarded to him, asserting that he was improperly denied the statutory presumption that all the defendants’ revenues were attributable to the act of infringement, based on the court’s exclusion of some categories of revenue.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (King, J.)

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Dissent (Widener, J.)

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