Philadelphia bar sends cease-and-desist letters over 'Play Gloria' phrase, per report

Jacks NYB sent cease-and-desist letters to companies who have been making money off the phrase, reports Missouri Lawyers Weekly

July 12, 2019 - 8:45 am
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*Correction notice*

This post originally stated Jacks NYB was suing some St. Louis companies over the use of the phrase "Play Gloria." The language in the web story headline was incorrect, what we reported on air was as Missouri Lawyer's Weekly reported it as cease-and-desist letters were sent. The story posted by Missouri Lawyers Weekly was referencing events that took place weeks ago and was not a new issue. KMOX apologizes for the error. 

Here is the report that aired on KMOX Friday morning: 

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) updated at 4:40 p.m.- It seems all the good feelings from the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Championship are fading, because there's now a legal dispute over who owns the phrase "Play Gloria." A bar in Philadelphia has initiated a legal tug-of-war.

The bar, called Jacks NYB, sent cease-and-desist letters to St. Louis t-shirt company Arch Apparel, the Blues and others who have been making money off the phrase, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly

Attorneys for Arch Apparel expressed that Arch Apparel and Jacks NYB have been in communication and are working toward a resolution of each’s own expression of "Play Gloria."

Jack NYB stated on Facebook they are "not suing any St. Louis companies and have NOT sued anyone ... WE HAVE NEVER THREATENED TO SUE THE ST. LOUIS BLUES EVER!!!"

Here's part of their statement on Facebook:

"Here’s the truth. When we found out that other companies were using our the PLAY GLORIA trademark to make money off of it, we reached out to them to try to make a deal with them. If they are going to profit from it, why shouldn’t we get a small piece of the pie. Wouldn’t you? Why should they keep all of the profits? In the case of Arch Apparel, rather than talk to us, they completely ignored us, then went on to make hundreds of THOUSANDS of dollars off of our #PlayGloria Trademark when fully knowing we owned the rights since our first letter in May. The Blues, NHL, AB, n dozens of others stopped using #PlayGloria once we trademarked, but they ignored us and thrived.

Why isn’t anyone getting on them for being so greedy? Ask yourself: if you created something that turned out to be valuable and someone else stole it from you and was making a ton of money from it, what would you do? What if you invented the Nike swoosh, and Nike said – “we like it, and we’re going to use it to promote millions of dollars of products, but you . . . you get nothing.” It’s not right. It’s unethical and from what we are hearing this company has a history of these illegal practices.... NOW #PLAYGLORIA"

The phrase was started after the late singer Laura Branigan’s 1982 song "Gloria" which became the victory anthem for St. Louis after Blues players watched an NFL playoff game at Jack's NYB in January. 

KMOX legal analyst Brad Young weighs in: 

"Their argument is, is that because that phrase was first used in the bar then they have a right to use that, an exclusive right to use that phrase," Young says. 

PLAY GLORIAAAAAAAAA!!! ⚜️-- #playgloria #archapparel #letsgoblues #stl #stlouis #stlouisgram

A post shared by A R C H A P P A R E L ™ (@archapparelstl) on

In-store shoppers! Special surprise today as we just dropped a new ⚜️-- PLAY GLORIA© cap! COME GET YOU SOME! #playgloria #archapparel #stlouis #stl #lgb #stlouisblues #stlblues

A post shared by A R C H A P P A R E L ™ (@archapparelstl) on

Local Philly fans inside the bar constantly yelled "Play Gloria" at the bar's D.J., then Blues players began to say it their lockerroom after winning games. Now, the phrase can be found on t-shirts, banners and more Stanley Cup memorabilia. 

Young doesn't buy it. For one thing he says, the timing works against them. 

"Had they asserted that while the Blues were in the midsts of their run, that would have generated enormous bad will against that particular bar," Young says. "The problem is that by waiting to assert their alleged rights to this trade name/copyright, then at that point they're allowing their interest to be what's called, diluted."

Missouri Lawyers Weekly says Arch Apparel began production of its t-shirts again after getting some legal advise of its own.

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