Red Raider Outfitter Calls Judge''s Ruling an Attack on College Town Businesses, Promises Appeal
LUBBOCK, Texas, November 3, 2006 -- A ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings in a case between a small business and Texas Tech University is sending shockwaves through college towns throughout Texas. The judge ordered Red Raider Outfitter, a small retailer that sells licensed Texas Tech clothing and goods, to pay the University nearly $2.9 million -- the company''s total revenue during the period in question.
The judge ruled that Red Raider Outfitter''s use of scarlet and black and a cowboy cartoon character -- something dozens if not hundreds of Lubbock-area businesses proudly do -- infringed on the University''s trademark. In response to Judge Cumming''s ruling, Stephen Spiegelberg, president of Red Raider Outfitter, issued the following statement:
"All of us at Red Raider Outfitter are disappointed by today''s ruling and we are concerned for every business in Lubbock that displays the red and black colors or the cartoon character of ''Raider Red.'' We are all under attack and today''s ruling suggests that the University and its Atlanta licensing company believe they deserve every penny Lubbock area businesses take in.
"The suggestion that Red Raider Outfitter, a company owned and operated by Texas Tech alumni, owes royalties to the University is hurtful and couldn''t be further from the truth. Since 1975, Red Raider Outfitter has proudly sold apparel and other goods that are licensed by the University. A small portion of the goods that we sell was in dispute -- estimated at about $5,000. Even so, Judge Cummings ignored these facts and awarded the University every penny of our small business'' revenue. If other business owners think it can''t happen to them, they are wrong.
"Today''s ruling is clearly intended to put Red Raider Outfitter out of business and we intend to show that Judge Cummings ruled with his heart, which bleeds red and black. As has been pointed out repeatedly in the past, Judge Cummings insists on ruling on cases involving Texas Tech, even though his close relationship with the University makes it impossible for him to rule fairly in such cases.
- Judge Cummings is a Texas Tech graduate;
- Even during the period when this case was being heard, Judge Cummings continued to root for Texas Tech by attending home games;
- Judge Cummings is so close to the University that he has a special parking spot on campus for a game.
- Judge Cummings works out on campus; and
- Judge Cummings has previously been asked to recuse himself in matters related to Texas Tech in the past.
"Red Raider Outfitter will appeal today''s ruling. We intend to appeal because 1) we did not infringe Texas Tech''s trademark; 2) the true ownership of the cartoon character of Raider Red is questionable, since it derives from Warner Bros. and the local Lubbock newspaper and 3) Judge Cummings should recuse himself from this case or any case related to Texas Tech because he is biased in favor of the University."
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