Very much how it started. With a letter attached to an email. Only this time, the letter was good news, outlining our license to decorate. We now have non-exclusive and non-transferrable permission to use the University's indicia on our baked goods.
Plus we learned a new word and a couple of valuable lessons...
in·di·cia: noun pl \in-ˈdi-sh(ē-)ə\ -- distinctive marks, indications. Latin, plural of indicium. Rhymes with militia.
The University of Alabama owns and controls the right to license the use of its trademarked names, team names, colors, logos, mascots and other indicia. They have worked hard to build the brand represented by their indicia. They risk losing ownership of the trademarks if they allow others to use them without permission.
A trademarked symbol is different from a copyrighted symbol.
Copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, or "the right to copy." It also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights.
The essential function of a trademark is to identify the commercial source of a product. It's not just about financial gain, it's about identity. Furthermore, trademark rights must be proactively maintained, and an owner may lose the trademark if they fail to enforcement their ownership. Hence, the cease-and-desist letter.
There's a whole lot more to it than that, and a lot of gray area. But I'm a baker and not a lawyer, so if you need to know more, ask a lawyer.
And that's why I made the trip to the Mal Moore Athletic Facility this afternoon to personally deliver the signed document officially ending the recent unpleasantness.
And I walked right past Mark Ingram's Heisman Trophy. Which was worth the trip all by itself.
The other valuable lesson? It pays to have friends who stand up for you. We profoundly appreciate the outpouring of support from our many friends and fans. YOU turned this negative into a positive for us at the bakery; very possibly for many other small businesses as well. It could not have ended this way without you.
THANK YOU. And Roll Tide!