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Jets Hit with Lawsuit over Iconic Logo: Designer Demands Compensation


The New York Jets, a storied franchise in the National Football League, is embroiled in a legal dispute with the creator of their iconic logo, John Doogan. Doogan has filed a lawsuit against the team, alleging breach of contract and seeking payment for the ongoing use of his design.

A History of the Jets' Logo

The Jets' distinctive logo, featuring a sleek, winged football with the letters "NY" emblazoned on its tail, has become synonymous with the team since its inception in 1963. Doogan, a graphic artist and former pilot, was commissioned to create the logo after the Jets' merger with the New York Titans.

According to Doogan's lawsuit, he entered into a written agreement with the team in 1963, granting the Jets a non-exclusive license to use the logo for a one-time payment of $500. However, Doogan claims that the team has continued to use the logo without his authorization and without providing him with any additional compensation.

Breach of Contract Allegations

Doogan's lawsuit alleges that the Jets have breached the terms of their 1963 agreement by continuing to use the logo without his consent. He argues that the non-exclusive license granted in 1963 was intended for limited use, and that the team's ongoing and extensive use of the logo constitutes a material breach of contract.

Damages Sought

In his complaint, Doogan seeks a number of remedies, including:

  • Payment of a reasonable royalty for the continued use of the logo
  • A declaration from the court that the Jets' use of the logo without his consent is a breach of contract
  • An injunction prohibiting the Jets from further use of the logo without his authorization

Jets' Defense

The Jets have yet to file a formal response to Doogan's lawsuit, but they are expected to defend their continued use of the logo by arguing that it is an integral part of their team identity and that they have a valid license to use it. The team may also claim that the 1963 agreement has been modified or superseded by subsequent conduct.

Impact on the Jets

The lawsuit against the Jets could have a significant impact on the team's brand and finances. The logo is a valuable asset for the Jets, generating revenue through merchandise, licensing deals, and ticket sales. If Doogan is successful in his lawsuit, the Jets could be forced to stop using the logo or pay him a substantial sum in royalties.

Legal Precedents

Cases involving the unauthorized use of logos and trademarks are common in the sports industry. In recent years, several major sports leagues have been embroiled in lawsuits over the rights to team logos and other intellectual property.

In 2019, the NFL settled a lawsuit with the estate of former Washington Redskins coach George Preston Marshall, who had designed the team's logo in the 1930s. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but it is believed that the Redskins paid a significant sum to acquire the exclusive rights to the logo.


The Jets' logo lawsuit is a reminder of the importance of intellectual property rights in the sports industry. It also highlights the challenges that teams face in balancing their need to protect their valuable assets with the rights of those who create them. The outcome of this case could have implications for other sports teams and the industry as a whole.

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