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A damages trial to determine how much the Baltimore Ravens football team should have to pay a small-time artist for his contribution to its logo design has ended with a zero award to the artist. One federal jury ruled in 1998 that the Ravens and National Football League Properties had infringed the logo designed by Frederick E. Bouchat. But in the damages phase, a second jury on July 24 declined to compensate Bouchat. Ravens attorney Robert Raskopf of New York’s White & Case convinced the jury that the revenue from the team’s merchandise had “nothing to do with the logo per se but everything to do with fans, NFL brands and the power of professional football.” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Inc., CV-MJG-97-1470 (D. Md.). Bouchat’s argument dates back to October 1995, when it was announced that the Cleveland Browns would be moving to Baltimore. Baltimore was awash with speculation about the new name for the relocated team. Bouchat, a fan, drew a design for the Ravens — his top pick from among the names that were being debated — and faxed it to team officials. At the time, Bouchat requested only an autographed Ravens helmet to compensate his efforts. Later, he asked for a percentage of the millions in profits that the logo had supposedly generated. The Ravens’ Raskopf, with partner Marc Ackerman and associate Andrew Hammond, denied that Bouchat’s design led to the actual logo. They said that the evidence that he faxed his version was “very weak.” JURY VERDICTS The first jury disagreed and found that one of the three Ravens logos in question was similar to Bouchat’s. Defense appeals failed, leading to the latest trial, which was held before federal Judge Marvin J. Garbis of the District of Maryland. Anticipating that the right to a jury trial may be tested in the 4th Circuit, he decided to hold a jury trial and a bench trial simultaneously. The jury of seven women and five men weighing the question of damages were shown dozens of items bearing the Ravens’ Flying B logo, including caps, shirts, footballs and umbrellas. After eight hours of deliberations, they determined that the value of the merchandise lay not in its artistic design but in the popular appeal of the football team. “This was not a close case,” Raskopf said. “We got a 12-0 verdict.” Bouchat’s attorney, Howard Schulman of Baltimore’s Schulman & Kaufman, said that the artist did not get a fair trial. He said that he was precluded from using the words “copyright” or “infringement” and was not allowed to reveal that there was a finding of liability by an earlier jury. Consequently, he says, the jury did not know what the case was about. “The court went so far to protect the defense from prejudice, that the opposite actually happened,” said Schulman. “The fight in this case is far from over.” The plaintiff has three other cases pending against the NFL, to recover a percentage of profits from licensing, sponsors and third-party entities involving the Ravens. Bouchat is still a Ravens fan, his lawyer said. “This was just a rush to market a product,” said Schulman, “and the little guy was forgotten.”

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