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Monday, January 9, 2012
Denver Broncos may hear from Texas A&M

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Texas A&M is considering sending a cease and desist letter to the Denver Broncos for infringing on the school's "12th Man" trademark.

The school owns the trademark. Before Denver's wild-card playoff win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, a man parachuted into the stadium with a "12th Man" flag, which reportedly flew during the game.

School spokesman Jason Cook told ESPN.com that the school will meet with general counsel on Monday morning to discuss the timetable of pursuing action.

"A cease and desist is typically our first course of action when dealing with infringements of the 12th Man mark," Cook said.

Texas A&M filed a suit against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 after sending requests to stop using the phrase in 2004 and 2005, and later resolved the issue without noting what, if any, licensing fees the Seahawks franchise would pay Texas A&M.

Any Seahawks broadcasts that reference the 12th Man must include a statement that the 12th Man is a trademark of Texas A&M University.

"The 12th Man is one of Texas A&M’s most cherished traditions, dating back to 1922," Cook said. "Today, the 12th Man is personified by 85,000 Aggies yelling at Kyle Field on the Texas A&M campus, symbolizing our loyalty and unique Aggie Spirit. It is imperative that we protect this valuable trademark from unauthorized use and maintain ownership of the 12th Man."

The Aggies trace their use to 1922, when an injury-plagued roster led the team to pull E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. Gill never took to the field, but the legend strengthened campus-wide commitment to support the team. The words "Home of 12th Man" adorn the stadium and the entire school is considered the 12th Man.