The National Football League (NFL) Properties, Inc. and Electronic Arts (EA), maker of, among other computer video games, "Madden NFL 11," were sued by Frederick Bouchat for allegedly infringing his copyright in his "Flying B" artwork (pictured at right). Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (No. 11-CV-02878, Oct. 7, 2011), Bouchat alleges in his complaint that the NFL licensed the infringing logo to EA and then EA reproduced and displayed it on "retro" uniforms worn by players depicted in its video game.
According to Bouchat, sometime in 1996 the Baltimore Ravens adopted a helmet and uniform design that included his copyrighted artwork. The NFL then licensed the infringing logo to EA in return for royalties. EA then depicted the infringing logo in the Madden NFL 11 game (see screenshot at right, from The Daily Record).
Madden NFL 11 is one of over 20 iterations of the widely popular "Madden NFL" video game, reportedly selling over 85 million copies since its debut in 1988.
Bouchat is seeking actual damages, profits attributed to the alleged infringement, copyright statutory damages, and a permanent injunction.
Howard J. Schulman of Shulman & Kaufman LLC (Baltimore) represents Bouchat in the lawsuit.
At the time of this posting, the NFL and EA had not filed their answers to Bouchat's complaint.
For an interesting history of Baltimore's professional football teams and the various iterations and uses of their logos, click here.
Other litigation involving the copyrighted subject matter of this lawsuit, see Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens, Inc., 241 F.3d 350 (4th Cir. 2001), Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens, Inc., 215 F. Supp. 2d 611 (D. Md. 2002), Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens, Inc., 346 F.3d 514 (4th Cir. 2003), Bouchat v. Champion Products, Inc., et al., 327 F. Supp. 2d 537 (D. Md. 2003), Bouchat v. The Bon-Ton Dept. Stores, Inc. et al., 506 F.3d 315 (4th Cir. 2007).