Appeals Court Steps In, Prohibiting Use of AT&T Logo during NASCAR Race

Aug 17, 2007

Richard Childress Racing’s No 31 car driven by Jeff Burton may look a little bare at 3M Performance 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at the Michigan International Speedway this Sunday, thanks to a decision by a federal appeals court prohibiting the use of the AT&T logo.
Overruling a temporary injunction issued in May, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against AT&T’s immediate right to change its logos and brand marks on the Childress car from Cingular to AT&T.
“Because Cingular [now AT&T Mobility] was neither a party to nor an intended beneficiary of the [grandfather clause], it has not itself suffered a legally cognizable injury as a result of NASCAR’s interpretation,” wrote the three-judge panel in their unanimous decision issued on August 13, 2007.
The issue arose because Nextel, an AT&T telecom rival, sponsors NASCAR’s top series, the Nextel Cup and has forbid other telecom companies from sponsoring NASCAR teams.
Although the Nextel deal prohibits teams to sign new sponsorship agreements with competing telecom companies, Cingular believed its sponsorship was grandfathered in through the end of this season because it existed prior to the Nextel deal.
The Cingular contract contains provisions expressly stating what it can and cannot do in terms of logo placement; however, there are no provisions in the contract that prevent a logo change if Cingular is purchased by another telecom company.


Articles in Current Issue