Kenner company owner says he won't give up 'Who Dat' casket fight

Kenner company owner says he won't give up 'Who Dat' casket fight

Kenner company owner says he won't give up 'Who Dat' casket fight

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

KENNER, La. - “Til We Meet Again” owner, Jonathan LaHatte, thought he had the ultimate fan creation when unearthed the "Who Dat" casket.

It was an effort for fans to honor the team in this lifetime, and the afterlife.

"They are the team for the city,” LaHatte said.”I figured why not throw some black and gold on it and put a little twist on it. What's more local than who dat?"

Unfortunately all it has dug up is a lot of legal trouble.

He's been contacted once by lawyers for the NFL and Saints for trademark concerns over the fleur de lis on the inside of the casket.

After modifying the design, he received a letter from a lawyer telling him to “Cease using the design” and to stop using the “black and gold color scheme on the casket.”

"I am not scrapping the idea because that costs money,” LaHatte said. “I feel like what we are doing is not unjust or in violation of any law."

Attorney Mark Andrews represented trademark clients in the "Who Dat" lawsuit from 2012.

He says LaHatte may not have many options.

"It can say who dat. It can be black and gold with a fleur de lis, just not the saints symbol,” Andrews said.

Saints Vice-President Greg Bensel issued a statement on behalf of the club Thursday.

"We have been in discussion and contact with the local franchisee of this Kansas based casket company before they even opened their local store. They agreed in those discussions to re-design the fleur de lis so that it was not the exact design of, or confusingly similar to, our federally registered trademarked logo. We have not sent a cease and desist demand letter to them nor have we discussed their use of WHO DAT.

"While we very much appreciate our fans and their support, we and the NFL always strive to protect our trademarks and our intellectual property at least in this world, not sure about the next. After seeing their recent TV ad, we sent a confirming privileged communication to their attorney offering to sit down and discuss the matter. Today, that privileged communication appeared in their press release sent to the media."

Lahatte's store specializes in custom caskets and has rights with the NCAA.

Though he was shocked by the NFL’s response, he says this won't change his feelings for what the team does on the field, above ground.

"I'm still going to follow the team regardless of what happens. I love the Saints."

Read the response to the “WHO DAT” casket on behalf of the NFL.

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