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.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand: