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Agreements Reached in ‘Who Dat?’ Lawsuit

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Image by KatjusaC on Flickr

Image by KatjusaC on Flickr

Who dat going to appear in federal court next week? Not the parties who were involved in a legal dispute over the New Orleans Saints fans’ phrase “Who Dat?”

Settlements reached by a recording company, restaurant, and two clothing vendors will allow everyone to avoid a trial that had been scheduled to begin Monday, November 5.

After the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory in 2010, the NFL threatened to sue merchants selling products with the phrase, but local public opinion convinced the league to back off; the NFL settled with Who Dat? Inc. regarding the use of the phrase.

That’s when Who Dat? Inc. stepped in to try to prevent other local businesses from using the phrase it alleged it trademarked with the Louisiana secretary of state in the 1980s. In 1983, Who Dat? Inc. owner Steve Monistere, his brother Sal, and Carlo Nuccio recorded a rendition of “The Saints Go Marching In” using the popular chant.

And so, in the most recent lawsuit, the company sought to protect its trademark and use of the phrase on “very specific and narrow categories” of products, which included some that overlapped with those of Who Dat Yat Chat, a restaurant slated to open this year, and two clothing vendors, Storyville Apparel and Monogram Express.

The restaurant and vendors argued that “Who Dat?” couldn’t be trademarked.  Darleen Jacobs, owner of Who Dat Yat Chat, is quoted on Fox 8 as saying that the term is in the “public domain” and that “[n]o one owns” it. Jacobs argued that the phrase came from 19th-century poetry and minstrel shows.

The details of the settlement between Who Dat? Inc. and the clothing vendors were not disclosed, but the latter will reportedly continue selling t-shirts that contain the phrase, according to one of their attorneys.

Fox 8 reports that the restaurant name will also continue as planned and Who Dat? Inc. will pay Jacobs’ court costs.

What do you think of this fuss over “Who Dat?”

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November 1st, 2012 at 12:55 pm