The owners of the Heisman Trophy are stiff-arming a website they claim is causing them serious damage by profiting off their prestigious name without permission.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the Heisman Trophy Trust is suing the owners of a website called HesimanWatch.com. The trust claims they spend in excess of $650,000 a year in advertising and promotion promoting the award and other related activities.
The Heisman Trophy Trust says they only license their trademark to specific third parties, including ESPN, Nissan and Wendy’s. They are also designated as a charitable organization and they have generated over $26 million in the last five years in support of their charitable missions.
According to them, the Heisman Trophy is “one of the most famous awards in all of sports.”
The trust owns and maintains Heisman.com but they claim three men — Chase Leavitt, Joseph Middleton and Kimball Dean Parker— are operating the site HeismanWatch.com without permission. The trio also has associated social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and even Google+.
In addition, the trust claims the site has their own podcast, the Heisman Watch Podcast.
The Heisman Trophy Trust claims all of these endeavors are in violation of their copyright.
They are suing for federal trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cyber-squatting and unfair competition.
The Blast reached out to HeismanWatch.com for comment — so far, no word back.