Lew Perkins Probably Kicks Wounded Dogs, Too

Yeah, yeah, I haven't posted anything in about two weeks and this is the best I could come up with.  Sorry, it's slow right now.

Sometimes you just have to hand it to a guy.  Just when I thought I couldn't dislike Lew Perkins anymore, he goes and does this.  For those who forgot, here's the breakdown in a nutshell:

--Lawrence-area t-shirt retailer (Joe-College.com) sells funny* shirts, sometimes using the color blue and the word "Kansas"

--KU decides it doesn't like the shirts and sues the t-shirt retailer, who isn't licensed by the university, for infinging on its trademarks.

--Jury finds about one-fourth of the shirts in question infringe on KU's marks, and awards a whopping** $127,000 to KU.

--Less than a year later, KU is apparently pissed that this guy has the audacity to continue running his business, and asks the court for costs of $110,000, attorney's fees of $1.26 million, and fines of $1,000 per day for each day Joe-College continues to sell shirts that are apparently on the banned list.

OK, so let's get this straight.  In the initial case, the KU athletic department got $127,000, and now they're asking for nearly that much in costs and $1.26 million in attorney's fees?  Even at a fairly high number such as $500 per hour, which may be what its attorneys are charging, given that they're based in Atlanta, KU's attorneys would have to have spent 2,520 hours on this case to justify $1.26 million.  Granted, I don't know if that includes the trial, but even so it still seems like a lot for what was approximately a two-week trial.  Larry Sinks, the owner of Joe-College, apparently 'only' tallied about half a mil in attorney's fees.  I'm not saying it's impossible that KU could prove its attorneys cost this much, but I'm hoping the judge doesn't permit it in this particular case.

We should be clear about my next point.  Perkins and the KU athletic department are not claiming they own the word "Kansas" in all contexts, but rather when it is used in reference to KU.  Fair enough.  But in the KC Star article linked above, check out the picture.  How is that shirt, a pink hoodie with the word "Kansas" on the front, clearly related to KU?  The federal jury in Topeka said it was.  Far be it for me to question the judgment of 12 fine Kansans, but c'mon.  And that's to say nothing of Sinks' assertion, via Jason Whitlock, that a witness for KU testified that they own the color blue in the state of Kansas.  I'd laugh if I didn't think some KU fans and officials were arrogant enough to actually believe that.  Not all.  Some.

This whole thing makes me wonder if there isn't some personal history between Perkins and Sinks.  Joe-College is one of many t-shirt retailers in Lawrence.  I'm not specifically calling into question any particular entity because I don't have any special knowlege, but is everything sold by Jocks Nitch, Francis Sporting Goods, Jayhawk Spirit, and other Lawrence retailers officially licensed KU gear?  Lawsuits don't make friends, but I'm guessing there might be a little more than just the lawsuit behind Sinks' comment in a recent University Daily Kansan article, in which he called Perkins, and I quote, an asshole.

So, why did I write about this?  First, because it's kind of slow right now.  Do you really want me to preview our game with Wagner tomorrow?  Didn't think so.  Second, because of my strong dislike for Perkins and the school down the river.  Third, because I think this lawsuit is a waste of time and money aimed at using the university's athletic department money to fund a personal vendetta between Perkins and Sinks.  As Panjandrum commented here recently, I hope karma is a big fat bitch waiting around the corner to deal Perkins a wicked backhand to his already-mangled nose.

We could only be so lucky.

 

*Whether the shirts are really funny is obviously a case-by-case inquiry.  Some of them are.  Some of them aren't.  The fact that I'm taking the side of a t-shirt retailer who markets shirts lampooning my own alma mater should say something about how strongly I dislike Perkins.

**Here, by "whopping," I mean "pittance"

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