Discovery’s 'Ragin’ Cajuns' has nothing to do with UL Lafayette, and that’s why the university has turned its attention to the new series, which debuts Tuesday.
[Editor's Note: This story has been altered to reflect that UL has continuously used the Ragin' Cajuns moniker since first adopting it in the 1960s. It has been brought to our attention that the name may have been used before then by a U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadron as early as 1950. We are trying to confirm the accuracy of that information.]
Discovery’s new reality series, Ragin’ Cajuns debuts Tuesday at 9 p.m. and follows the livelihood of shrimpers — in much the same vein as Deadliest Catch and Swamp People. The first episode, subtitled “White Gold,” is set in Venice.
But there may be a potential problem for the network: Ragin’ Cajuns is a federally registered trademark and service mark, just like Xerox or Q-tips. Because the nickname is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, UL has certain ownership and protection rights to the moniker.
“Our office is looking into it right now,” says Aaron Martin, UL’s director of communications and marketing, who was unaware of the potential infringement until contacted by The Independent in late December. “I do have a call into them. I’ve talked to their people, and they told me they are going to call me back.”
“I’m not thrilled about it,” Martin says, stressing there is likely not much that can be done to stop tonight’s premiere, even if there is an infringement. “If there is something we can do, it would probably be a cease and desist at some point if you can prove that it’s a violation.”
Martin, who Monday said he still poring over a thick document to better understand UL's rights, emphasized that trademarks are issued in categories or classes. “There are a bunch of things out there that use the term Ragin’ Cajuns; there have been songs, a movie, restaurants,” Martin continues. “I know if they start putting stuff on apparel, that gets a little bit, from what I understand, a little bit more definitive.”
The use of UL’s marks are controlled by its licensing program, which was initiated in 1988. The program is administered by Martin’s department, along with UL’s licensing agent, Collegiate Licensing Company. The program requires manufacturers to enter into an agreement with the university if they want to produce products bearing UL Lafayette’s name or trademarks.
UL Lafayette was the first to adopt and continuously employ the nickname Ragin’ Cajuns, using it initially in the 1960s to refer to its football team, according to both UL’s website and Wikipedia: “In 1963 football coach Russ Faulkinberry changed the nickname of the football team ‘Bulldogs’ to 'Ragin’ Cajuns.’ By the 1970s, the athletic department, the sports information director Bob Henderson and the student body picked up on the nickname,” Wiki notes. “As published in the 1974 football guide, the nickname became official that year.”
While UL assesses its rights, the rest of us might want to check out the new reality series, in which local shrimpers will discuss the challenges they face in the aftermath of the BP disaster. The show's executive producer told The Times-Picayune Ragin' Cajuns will be quite different from other popular TV series about hard-working men and women who make their living on the water:
We all know what’s on the other networks,” said French Horwitz, Discovery’s executive producer for the show, which comes from Los Angeles-based Gurney Productions. “This show is different and unique. It isn’t ‘Deadliest Catch’ in that these guys aren’t on the high seas in dangerous surroundings. And it’s not ‘Swamp People’ in that they’re not catching gators.
“It’s these special characters that make this show different from anything else that’s on our air. They are great guys, they’re guys that are doing what they’ve been doing for hundreds of years, and they’re trying to keep up with the tradition.
“This is a special show, unlike anything else that’s on the air right now.”
Fans of “Swamp People” will especially find it special, I suspect, in that the characters are both larger-than-life and true-to-life for the region. ... Much of what’s said in the premiere episode needs subtitles. And a few bleeps.
Read more from the T-P here.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.