Campus Life

Texas A&M And Seattle Seahawks Reach New License Agreement For “12th Man” Trademark

August 11, 2016

E. King Gill

The larger-than-life statue of E. King Gill stands at 12 feet tall on the east plaza of Kyle Field.

Texas A&M University and the Seattle Seahawks have reached a new license agreement regarding the university’s 12th Man trademark—with new stipulations regarding the use of “12th Man” by the NFL football franchise.

The “12th Man” use by Texas A&M dates back almost a century and directly relates to the legendary actions of the late E. King Gill, a Texas A&M student who came out of the stands at an Aggie football game on Jan 2, 1922 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas—ready to enter the game if needed because of injuries to the team’s regular players. Gill was the original 12th Man.

The university and Seahawk management initially entered into a “12th Man” license agreement in 2006, shortly after university officials were made aware of the team’s unauthorized usage of the trademark, which prompted the university to take legal action.

Under provisions of the new 5-year agreement, use of “12th Man” on the Ring of Honor in the Seahawks’ stadium will no longer occur, nor will there be any references to “12th Man” in social media by the Seahawks franchise, Texas A&M officials announced.

Texas A&M University President Michael Young commented, “We appreciate the Seahawks’ management working with us on a mutual agreement for the licensed use of the mark. The 12th Man is a cherished tradition. Keeping it alive is important because it reflects the willingness and readiness of Aggies to fearlessly step in whenever and wherever needed.” Federal trademark registrations by Texas A&M for the 12th Man trademark date back to 1990.

“We are obviously pleased to have in place the new agreement with the Seattle Seahawks that serves to control and minimize any use of Texas A&M University’s trademark ‘12th Man’ by any entity other than Texas A&M or its authorized licensees,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

Texas A&M officials directly involved in the negotiations said the Seattle Seahawks will continue to pay an annual royalty fee under the new agreement. The Seahawks did not desire any expansion of the previous agreement, they said, so the covered territory for use remains in the Pacific Northwest. Also, they said the Seahawks have shifted their branding to “12” or “12s,” with the new agreement primarily for “incidental use” as it relates to the team’s fan base.

Media contact: Shane Hinckley, Vice President of Brand Development, at (979) 458-1729 or

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