INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The NFL has put a bull rush on a Pendleton man and forced him out of the game, before it began.
Roy Fox, a year ago, began the process of trade marking the phrases "Harbowl" and "Harbaugh Bowl." When the NFL found out, the leagues lawyers responded strongly.
"The first call was asking what my intentions were with them," says Fox.
Fox, a Colts fan, remembered when Peyton and Eli Manning played against each other. Everyone called it the Manning bowl.
A year ago, when Jim and John Harbaugh were each in the Championship game, he filed for a trademark on two phrases - "Harbaugh Bowl" and "Harbowl".
"I had the paperwork started and then I watched the championship games last year. Both teams lost and I was like 'ahhhh,'" says Fox.
Fox figured if the Harbaugh brothers ended up playing each other in the Super Bowl, he could sell hats and t-shirts with the trademarked phrases.
This year the matchup happened.
But Fox can't cash in. In August the NFL sent him a letter saying Harbaugh Bowl and Harbowl could infringe on the NFL's Super Bowl trademark.
The message from the NFL he says was clear.
"We will take you to court. You will lose. We will seek compensation," he says.
Fox already had about a thousand dollars invested in the trademark process so he made the tough decision to sign a release stopping it.
"I wasn't going to lose anymore. So I figured I'd cut my losses and it would be over," he says.
He did ask the NFL to reimburse him and was told no. He then asked for Colts tickets. No again. Then he asked for Roger Godell's autograph. Still, no.
Fox does have a souvenir. Letters with genuine NFL letterhead.
"I figured you know, there's a running joke that I don't know anybody else that's got them. I'll frame em," he says.
Plenty of legal experts have weighed in on Fox's dilemma, with most saying the NFL would have a tough time proving infringement in Fox's case.
Now, Fox says he wishes he had done more investigating before he abandoned his trademark effort. But he says, if nothing else, maybe next time, others won't back down when the NFL hits hard.
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