Who Dat

big, greedy tool?

The battle over who owns the phrase “Who Dat” is already in court, and several merchandisers in the metro area received letters saying they are required to pay licensing fees to the company Who Dat?, Inc. to sell anything with the phrase printed on it.

…No one denies that Sal and Steve Monistere and Carlo Nuccio wrote a version of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” performed by Aaron Neville, with the “Who Dat” chant in the song.

But the issue is not who owns the song, but who owns the phrase “Who Dat.”

…They also applied for a federal trademark.

In the ’90s, Who Dat?, Inc. didn’t maintain that registration and the patent office vacated it. At that point, a business man out of New York applied for a “Who Dat” trademark.

The Saints challenged it, and his application is still pending, which is why the patent office refused Who Dat?, Inc’s 2010 trademark application…

And so it goes on and on, over a phrase ~ however irritating ~ that’s been part of New Orleans culture forever, with documentation at least as far back as the 1890’s.

A phrase they couldn’t be BOTHERED maintaining their bs trademark on…until the Saints WON something. Whoops! Wait a minute! Didn’t we say we OWN dat?

Worse, NOW they’re sending pay-or-DIE letters to NOLA artists (like my favoritest Fleurty Girl) who do the cleverest designs with things that have always been part of the public domain in the city: part of the rich patois of handed down, growin’ up New Orleans.

They had an artist and merchant meeting with a lawyer (“Ernie the Attorney” ~ ONLY in New Orleans!) last night that Lauren (Fleurty Girl’s owner) organized on her Facebook page. I checked this morning for a report, but haven’t seen one yet. I’m curious what the prognosis is.

I hope it’s for a big ol’ David and Goliath knifefight. ‘Cause if it is, I’m in.

7 Responses to “Who Dat”

  1. Syd B. says:

    Perhaps the more poignant question is “Why Dat?”

  2. nightfly says:

    +1, Syd. Exactly. Nothing can be innocent fun anymore? Why does “Who Dat” have to be suddenly trademarked and licensed?

  3. Rob says:

    This Saints fan wishes Who Dat would go away forever but I’d prefer it to die a natural death.

  4. kae says:

    Another example of patenting common names, Australian Ugg boots.
    It’s like patenting the name “black shoes”.

  5. kae says:

    Or patenting the Aussie greeting “G’day!”

  6. Skyler says:

    I have serious doubts that they would win a trademark suit, but the intimidation will work on most of their competitors who don’t want to pay the legal costs to fight it.

  7. Gunslinger says:

    Who dat say “who dat” when I say “who dat?”

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