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Should This Flag Fly?

Mike Tettleton’s firm, Lone Star Banners and Flags, has designed this banner, which seems to combine the notions of a certain local team and a certain Lone Star state. Mike tells me his Fort Worth firm designed the flag (he calls it the “Silver and Blue Texas Flag”), then intended to take it to the Dallas Cowboys to negotiate a deal with them. He also posted an image of it on his company Web site to gauge public interest. That’s where the Cowboys saw it as well (oops).  Not long after, Tettleton got a call from the Cowboys, asking him to take it down, because they hadn’t given him permission to market the flag. The Silver and Blue Texas Flag has since been pulled from the Web. What do you think, FrontBurnervians? Should this flag be allowed to fly?

UPDATE: For a right-side-up version of the flag, jump here.

24 comments on “Should This Flag Fly?

  1. No Cowboys name on in? Go for it. If there is no reference to the Cowboys other than the star and colors, then the Cowboys can sit on it.

    I would think the state of Texas has more a cause to stop production than the Cowboys.

    And maybe “Da Boys” should focus more on getting their team in order instead of flags.

  2. No, it’s pretty tacky and I would throw a hissyfit if my neighbor put this outside their house or look down upon them for their poor level of taste if I saw it inside their house

  3. I want to hear more about John’s hissyfit. Does this involve stomping your feet and holding your breath on your neighbor’s lawn?

  4. I am pretty sure that as powerful as Jerry Jones may think he is, it’s gonna be awfully hard for him to trademark colors or shapes.

    There is nothing unique about the use of stars and colors in advertising. Did Pepsi sue Coca-Cola using red in their logos??? Nope.

    Yes, there are trademarked sounds – eg the Harley Davidson ‘potato potato’ noise, the Windows or Mac start-up tones – but these are icons created and used for specific products.

    There must be a few Intellectual Property lawyers out there who would love to take this case on contigency. They may end up owning JerryLand in a few years.

  5. It doesn’t catch the essence of the complete and total choke job that was 2009. So the Cowboys shouldn’t have a problem with it. Now, if there were a bunch of doe-eyed kittens on a silver and blue flag, that hits closer to the mark.

  6. Um, no, and not just b/c its upside down. Ugh, ppl, its a 5 point star – how hard is it to get it right side up?

  7. @Avi S. Adelman

    It’s called “Trade Dress”, colors and shapes are very much trademarkable and enforceable.

  8. The irony is this is the flag of the new Russian republic Iznoplahoffistahn, a tiny nation on the Black Sea.

  9. this is tacky? have you seen some of the licensed crap they sell (and fans buy)? this would be among the nicer items. as for whether jerry would have a case, the guy is clearly trying to profit from the cowboys on this. what’s he gonna say, “oh, yes, we also have a green/gold version, and a orange/white version.”

    gimme a break. it’s something else for the (oddly) passionate cowboys fan to pay $50 for.

  10. It’s great to hear all of the passionate feedback on this flag. I’d love to add my two cents worth to the discussion. First, the picture that I sent Dave was unfortunately upside down, so that was not intentional, I’ll send the right image to post if he wants to. Second, the last thing I want to do is anger either the Cowboy organization, their fans, or any of my fellow passionate citizens of our great state. Third, it turns out (I think) that the combination of the colors and the star with the border around it IS trademarked by the Cowboys, so definitely off limits without their permission, and finally, I am a die hard fan of all our local teams, but you could accurately call me a Dallas Cowboy “homer”. GO COWBOYS

    Mike Tettleton, President
    Lone Star Banners and Flags

  11. Flying a flag upside down is a historical maritime symbol for a vessel under distress. As such, the positioning of this flag is extremely appropriate.

  12. From Wikipedia…

    Trade dress refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the facade of a building such as a restaurant) that may be registered and protected from being used by competitors in the manner of a trademark. These characteristics can include the three-dimensional shape, graphic design, color, or even smell of a product and/or its packaging.

    There are two basic requirements that must be met for trade dress protection. The first is that those features must be capable of functioning as a source indicator–identifying a particular product and its maker to consumers. In the United States, package design and building facades can be considered inherently distinctive–inherently capable of identifying a product. However, product design can never be inherently distinctive, and so such trade dress or other designs that cannot satisfy the ‘inherent distinctivness’ requirement may only become protectable by acquiring ‘secondary meaning.’ In other words, the mark may be protected if it acquires an association in the public mind with the producer of the goods.

    Under the functionality doctrine, trade dress must also be nonfunctional in order to be legally protected; otherwise it is the subject matter of patent law. What is functional depends strongly on the particular product. To be nonfunctional, it cannot affect a product’s cost, quality, or a manufacturer’s ability to effectively compete in a nonreputational way. For example, color is functional in regard to clothing because that product is purchased substantially because of its color and appearance, but color is not functional on household insulation, which is purchased purely to be installed in a wall and is never seen.

    I am just not sure that this applies to colors like this…

  13. “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
    As a native, I’d be pretty offended as I am sure the men who gave their lives for this Republic also would have been.

  14. Is that THE Mickey Tettleton, former Ranger DH?

    By the way, I am a Cowboys fan, and I think that flag is great, albeit trademark infringement.

  15. “I am just not sure that this applies to colors like this…”

    It does, our company has a three color trade dress mark and we have successfully enforced it.

  16. I love the Cowboys and I love Texas. I also love Sushi and I love milkshakes but I would not combine them either.

  17. If the guy had just made the flag and started to sell them without saying they were “Silver and Blue” I think the Cowboys would have had a hard time putting a stop to this. One could argue it’s actually gray, white and blue. I’m sure this guy could sell some burnt-orange tinted flags too. As long as he didn’t say “burnt-orange” he would probably not run afoul of the UT Longhorns folks.

    As it is, this guy is screwed. The Cowboys can probably keep him from selling these flags and will probably go to some cheap supplier to have their own made.

    Although, one wonders just how many of these flags would sell around here these days? I think the Cowboys next game is in August, not February. Just sayin’