Deals resolve "Who Dat?" trademark claims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Settlements have

resolved a Louisiana recording company's claims against two T-shirt

vendors and a restaurant

over merchandising rights to the phrase "Who Dat?" a popular

chant of New Orleans Saints fans.

The deals eliminate the need for a federal trial scheduled to begin Monday.

Who Dat? Inc., which recorded a song in 1983 that used the cheer, accused Storyville Apparel, Monogram Express and Who Dat

Yat Chat of violating its trademark of the phrase.

The T-shirt vendors and Who Dat Yat Chat argued that "Who Dat?" is a generic phrase that can't be trademarked.

Darleen Jacobs, a New Orleans attorney, said the settlement allows her to use Who Dat Yat Chat as the name of a restaurant

she plans to open in Violet later this year. Who Dat? Inc. also will pay Jacobs more than $3,174 to cover her court costs,

the agreement said.

"I've been using 'Who Dat?' since I was a toddler," Jacobs said. "No one owns 'Who Dat?' It's in the public domain."

Who Dat? Inc. co-owner Steve Monistere said his company sued to protect its right to use the phrase for "very specific and

narrow categories" of goods, including T-shirts, foods and beverages.

"Our company is entitled to use 'Who Dat?' as a brand name for our goods and services, and that's always been the case," he


Mark Andrews, a lawyer for the T-shirt vendors, said terms of their settlement with Who Dat? Inc. are confidential. However,

Andrews said his clients intend to continue selling T-shirts with the phrase "Who Dat?" on them.

"The T-shirt vendors never asked to be in this lawsuit and are glad it's over with so they can get on with their business,"

Andrews said.

Who Dat? Inc. and the NFL settled related claims against each in January. At the time, an NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said

their agreement called for the league, the Saints and the company to make co-branded merchandise available to fans.

In the days leading up to the Saints' victory in the 2010 Super Bowl, the NFL sent out a batch of cease-and-desist letters

demanding T-shirt makers stop selling "Who Dat?" merchandise. But the NFL backed down after state officials challenged the

league's trademark infringement claims.

Monistere and his brother, Sal, have

described themselves as founding members of the "Who Dat Nation." They

say they trademarked

and nurtured the phrase after they enlisted several Saints players

to chant it on a recording of "When the Saints Go Marching

In," sung by Aaron Neville.