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Super Bowl XLIV goes on without threat of 'Who Dat' lawsuits

By Chris Rizo | Feb 7, 2010

Buddy Caldwell (D)

MIAMI (Legal Newsline)-Kick off today at Super Bowl XLIV will happen this afternoon under mostly sunny skies without the ugly specter looming of copyright infringement lawsuits being filed over the New Orleans Saints' popular rallying cry.

That is thanks to an agreement that Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, a Democrat, was able to hammer out with officials from the National Football League last week.

The attorney general spoke Monday with legal counsel from the NFL over who holds copyright ownership to the cheer "Who Dat," as well as who owns rights to the fleur-de-lis symbol that is often associated with the Saints team.

In an interview with Legal Newsline shortly after his call with NFL officials, Caldwell said the National Football League was no longer claiming exclusive rights to the "Who Dat" rallying cry and the French fleur-de-lis symbol.

"This one just got a little out of hand," he said. "We appear to be in perfect agreement."

The National Football League had sent cease-and-desist letters to some T-shirt makers, demanding that they stop selling items bearing the French symbol or the Saints' popular cheer.

"Those letters were a little bit strong," Caldwell said after the call, adding that fans and manufacturers are free to use the "Who Dat" and fleur-de-lis so long as they don't use Saints' trademarks and market products as officially licensed NFL items.

The rallying cry -- "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints" - is often shortened to "Who Dat" on shirts and signs. It has been heard at the New Orleans Superdome for decades.

The Saints today will play the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV at Miami's Sun Life Stadium. The game marks the Saints' first Super Bowl appearance. The New Orleans franchise was created in 1967.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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