Posted on January 12 2015
Right from the beginning, I knew that if I wanted to create sports art, I would need to get myself up to speed on intellectual property and trademark infringement. I've always taken a 'strategically naive" approach and fearlessly created my designs. I've always tried to approach the leagues and teams in a professional, objective manner and, I've been able to navigate through these muddy waters relatively successfully.
That brings me to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre. Outside of legal marks of MLB and the individual teams, some of my artwork requires securing usage rights with third-party trademarks. The most obvious culprits being my designs of AT&T Park and Turner Field which incorporate the Coke bottle and the Chick-Fil-A cow (though there's the 'art of art' issue which I won't get into here). Although most public buildings in America are free for public use, in Canada it's a different story. I quickly learned that the CN Tower is owned by the CLC (Canadian Lands Company) and that their trademark extends to the likeness and any graphical representation of the building. Bummer right? Thought the Blue Jays love the design (as well as most Blue Jays fans), my original design could not be approved for sale so long as the CN Tower was the focus of the design. Seems strange to me that the #1 most recognizable landmark in Toronto is the tower, and there are millions of postcards, art books, and designs that depict the CN Tower. Right?
Sometimes, you have to pick your battles, and this one was not worth the battle.
It took several months, but I've finally found a design that I'm happy with, the Blue Jays are happy with and the CLC are happy with! #FistPump Looking back now, many of my designs are centered and vertical, and the old design is on an angle, so it makes my OCD mind happy that this design is squared up and symmetrical. Not to overlook that the 2.0 version is more minimalist which is a bonus.
P.S. Anyone that has the older CN Tower design, hang on to it because it just became a collector's piece!