Fred’s Fish Fry sues over San Antonio Spurs jerseys for copyright violation

The restaurant chain is demanding that all profits earned from the sale of the allegedly bootlegged apparel be handed over.

click to enlarge San Antonio artist Adrian Galvan, who created a Fred's Fish-inspired Spurs jersey and signed a licensing agreement with Wade and Williamson, is being sued by by the fast food chain for copyright infringement. - Adrian Galvan
Adrian Galvan
San Antonio artist Adrian Galvan, who created a Fred's Fish-inspired Spurs jersey and signed a licensing agreement with Wade and Williamson, is being sued by by the fast food chain for copyright infringement.
Editor's note: This story was updated to add comments from suit defendants Adrian Galvan and Wade and Williamson.

San Antonio fast food chain Fred's Fish Fry Inc. has sued an array of business owners and a local artist over a parody sports jersey that mashes up its logo with that of the NBA's Spurs.

The suit, filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, accuses 21 defendants, including Michael Baez of Bexar County Social Apparel, Dapemo.com and Bestteestore.com, of copyright infringement. The petition also names Adrian Galvan, the San Antonio artist whose design of the parody uniform went viral.

The Fred's chain appears to be taking no prisoners in the suit, which seeks all profits the defendants earned from selling jerseys and merchandise with similarities to Fred's red and blue logo.

Galvan entered into a licensing agreement with Wade and Williamson to create and sell jerseys, a move the complaint alleges was an infringement on the restaurant chain's federal trademark registrations.

Wade and Williamson officials told the Current that Galvan entered into the licensing agreement on Nov. 9 while the Fred's jersey was being sold on the business' website. 

However, Galvan disputes that claims, saying that he "wanted nothing to do" with the letting Wade and Williamson produce merchandise using parts of the Fred's logo. Instead, he only entered into a verbal agreement with the company for the rights to two of his other designs, he added.

Galvan maintains that he has yet to make a cent off his licensing agreement with Wade and Williamson or any other vendors named in the lawsuit. 

Wade and Williamson declined comment on the lawsuit and specifics of its deal with Galvan.

Fred's holds federal trademarks for the fish logo, the checkered border and the red, white and blue fish decor found on its carry-out boxes, according to the suit. Those same images were incorporated into the jersey design allegedly printed and sold by the defendants.

"Under common law, whoever uses the mark first is the senior user, and they have the right to prevent people from coming along after them and adopting the same or similar mark in order to mislead consumers into purchasing their products," Brandon T. Cook, an attorney for Fred's law firm — Gunn, Lee & Cave — told the Current.

In addition to seeking profits from the merchandise, Fred's is asking that all defendants stop creating and selling items that resemble the restaurant's logo and that the defendants pay for all court costs and attorney fees incurred by the company.
click to enlarge Fred's Fish Fry plans to sell a licensed Spurs jersey in coming weeks. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
Fred's Fish Fry plans to sell a licensed Spurs jersey in coming weeks.
As of Friday at noon, Bexar County Social Apparel and Wade and Williamson had removed Fred's- inspired merchandise from their websites. However, the sites of other defendants, including Dapemo.com, still show images of gear bearing the chain's logo.

Fred's Fish Fry still plans on releasing its own officially licensed Spurs-mashup jersey in coming weeks, company spokesperson John Villanueva told the Current last month via email.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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