Campus Life

Texas A&M University Files 12th Man Trademark Suit vs. NFL’s Indianapolis Colts

November 12, 2015

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University filed suit today against the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston) seeking to protect its 12th Man trademark rights.

“Texas A&M University is the Home of the 12th Man which has brought our fan base national renown,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “We would prefer not to file lawsuits to protect our trademarks. However, when our intellectual property, especially the 12th Man mark which is so important to our students and former students, is used without our permission after repeated attempts to engage on the matter, we are left with no choice.”

“We bear no ill will toward the Indianapolis Colts,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “We simply want them to respect our trademark rights. Our actions are consistent with our previous trademark enforcement efforts in this regard.”

The use of 12th Man originated in 1922 when Texas A&M student, E. King Gill, was asked to come down out of the stands and suit up for coach Dana X. Bible’s Southwest Conference Champion Aggies against Centre College in the Dixie Classic. E. King Gill stood next to Coach Bible for the rest of the game, ready to play if needed. Texas A&M defeated Centre College 22-14, and the 12th Man mark was adopted to identify and distinguish the Texas A&M spirit evidenced by E. King Gill at that game. Today, Aggies stand at all football and basketball games, from the opening kickoff until the end of the game symbolizing their readiness to go into the game whenever they are needed. Federal trademark registrations by Texas A&M for the 12th Man trademark date back to 1990.

For more information on the 12th Man visit

Media contact: Shane Hinckley, Interim Vice President, Division of Marketing & Communications, at (979) 458-1729 or

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