It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most Seattle fans that we are regularly flooded with requests from Seahawks fans looking to show off their 12th man spirit on their vehicles in the form of vinyl decals and wraps. As die-hard hawks fans ourselves, it’s the worst kind of bummer to have to explain to enthusiastic 12’s why we aren’t willing/able to help bring their vision to reality. In effort to hopefully help prevent future hawk fan heartache when we tell them “no” when faced with this request, we felt it wise to publicly clarify our policy on this issue.
It is our understanding that it is illegal to reproduce trademarked content without explicit written permission from the mark owner. In this case, the Seahawks hold more trademarks than we’re able to count, granting exclusive rights to a wide variety of terms, concepts and images that have to do with the team, players, and yes, even the 12th man spirit. The owner of the registered Seahawks trademarked content is none other than the National Football League, and they have teams of lawyers specifically dedicated to the cause of seeking out and prosecuting against trademark infringers. So, what if you just want some feathers and a number “12” you might be wondering? Well, according to our legal consul, when asked to explain to us what the “gray zone” is for being able to do “Seahawks-inspired” graphic kits (such as green/blue number 12 with feathers) we quickly learned that when it comes to trademarks, there is no gray-zone. If a graphic or design creates an association to, or has a similarity to or likeliness to something that is trademarked, then it is likely in violation of that trademark and punishable by the Lanham Act. For this reason, we decided that our answer to any and all Seahawks related requests from here on out would be “no.”
You may be wondering: what about all the local “sign” shops that are reproducing Seahawk artwork? How come they will but we won’t? Well this goes back to the age-old mother’s warning to her children: just because your friends decide to jump off a building, doesn’t mean that you should too. Let us reiterate: by saying “NO” to any and all Seahawks related content we are not acting as traitors to our beloved team (rest assured, we are NOT 49-Whiners fans around here). It’s merely our way of protecting ourselves, and more importantly, our customers, from the potential of fines or lawsuits.
Now, before you call us “hypocrites” let us explain another issue you might be wondering about. In the past, we have wrapped many hawk-inspired helmets for babies’ “cranial helmets” which are medical devices that children born with a craniofacial disorder have to wear in order to correct it. These were wraps that we did for FREE, just for fun, to help lessen the social stigma around having to wear one of these helmets, while simultaneously enabling our community’s youngest 12’s to show their spirit. Since we were doing these free of charge, we didn’t initially think we had anything to worry about, however, after talking to our legal consul we decided it best to opt out of Seahawks related projects entirely – especially because we didn’t want to be questioned on why we were willing to make an exception to our policy for wrapping baby helmets, but weren’t willing to make an exception for other customer projects.
Hopefully this helps clear things up for everyone! GOOOOO SEAHAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!