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Friday, December 19, 2008
Young's suit contends three men who filed for trademark damaged his deals

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Vince Young is suing former major league infielder Enos Cabell and two other men for applying for a trademark to use his initials and "Invinceable" nickname to sell products without his permission.

The federal suit filed Dec. 12 in a U.S. District Court in Houston alleges the three men applied for the rights in 2006, the day after Young led the University of Texas to a national championship in the Rose Bowl and won the most valuable player award.

The suit claims the trio has spent large sums marketing and branding the VY image and Invinceable nickname, damaging endorsement deals for the Tennessee Titans quarterback, including one with Reebok. Young is asking the court to give him the rights to use the initials and nickname.

The suit notes that Young, a 2005 Heisman Trophy finalist, became widely known by his Invinceable nickname while playing for Texas.

"It's been a part of him since he was playing in high school," his agent, Major Adams, told The Tennessean newspaper this week. "It is standing in the way of some things Vince wants to do. Even Reebok wanted to do some VY things and they had to back off because of litigation."

Cabell spent most of his 14-year baseball career with the Houston Astros and is now an assistant to Astros general manager Ed Wade. Neither he nor the other defendants -- Rodney Vannerson and Tom Roberson, both of the Houston suburb Sugar Land -- could be reached for comment.

Their attorney, Douglass Rommelman, did not immediately return a call to his office Friday.

The suit states that the men planned to use the Invinceable nickname for clothing, computer games, video games and computer game software. Young's initials, VY, were intended for posters, photographs, pictures and decals.

The suit alleges Vannerson initially applied for the trademark with "the intention of extracting money for licensing the mark back to" Young.

The 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year already sells some products with those marks on his Web site. He also was featured on the cover of the Madden 2008 video game.

Young's attorney, Delphine James, did not return a phone call.

Drafted by the Titans in 2006, Young, a Houston native, has been sidelined by injuries this year and now backs up Kerry Collins.