By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Baylor University filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Bleux LLC and Umar Brimah in connection with Dia Gang, which the university claims is using phrases and designs, or “marks,” that have a history and strong connection to Baylor.
The lawsuit comes as a response to the actions taken by Brimah and Dia Gang in relation to Diadeloso, Baylor’s annual day off of school for on-campus activities like goat yoga and bubble soccer. Brimah, a Baylor alumnus and founder of Bleux LLC, sent mass emails to Baylor students via their student email accounts promoting an off-campus Lil Jon concert and merchandise with logos containing phrases like “Livingstone Make Dia Thursday Again.”
In the lawsuit, Baylor claimed that Bleux, Brimah’s company hosting the concert, used the name “Dia Gang” to capitalize off of Baylor’s event, as well as used “university marks” like “Dia”, “Baylor”, “BU” or a bear design on merchandise not related to the university. Bleux and all associated parties to cease using university marks and transfer the domain name thediagang.com. Baylor owns pending applications to register marks like “Dia” and “Diadeloso” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
“To solidify the association between their concert and Baylor’s Diadeloso festival, Defendants adopted the name ‘The Dia Gang’ to promote their concert and associated products and services,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants used ‘Dia’ and ‘Diadeloso’ as marks in connection with the promotion and sale of clothing and accessories, often in combination with presumably unlicensed, third-party marks.”
The lawsuit also claims that Bleux used hashtags like #BaylorDia and #BaylorNation, as well as phrases like “Sic ‘Em Bears” in promotional material sent to students and that the emails sent using addresses like email@example.com could easily be confused as being affiliated with the university. The lawsuit further mentioned that phrases included on Dia Gang promotional merchandise do not fall in line with Baylor’s Christian mission.
“For example, Defendants’ use of the name ‘The Dia Gang’ and their sale of shirts displaying the message ‘I Went to Diadeloso and All I Got was this F**kin Shirt’,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claimed that prior to taking legal action, Baylor attempted to contact and resolve the issue with Brimah and Bleux directly. Baylor addressed this and the university’s longing to protect trademarked material in a statement to the Lariat.
“Baylor University is required to protect its trademarks and intellectual property in order to maintain trademark registrations. Our first step is always education, which Baylor did in this case. Unfortunately, in this situation, Baylor’s trademarks related to Diadeloso continue to be violated and misused, which has prompted this legal action,” the statement said. “In addition to numerous trademark violations, this business owner spoofed Baylor.edu email addresses and inappropriately used the Baylor email system to promote a non-University affiliated event. Our primary focus with this litigation – and in all of our prior communications with this business owner – is that he recognize and respect Baylor’s ownership of the Diadeloso trademark and its related variations and cease use immediately.”
Brimah, the defendant in the lawsuit, said that he had been in communication with Baylor Student Activities in the past and had considering attempting to partner up for an on-campus event.
“The big thing is that I’m hosting an event with Lil Jon that is right across from the stadium and close to campus and Baylor is very protective about Dia — they are very against the event and I feel that they’re using the t-shirts in a way to stop my efforts with the event,” Brimah said. “It all started early this year when I reached out to Student Activities — I talked about the idea of combining to do an on-campus Dia. I noticed a trend where off-campus Dia was growing but I felt like there was a way to incorporate it back on to campus if they were able to pick the right artist. I went into meeting with them thinking it was going to be a conversation about the event but it turned into them just showing pictures of T-shirts and telling me to take them down.”
Brimah said that he complied with Baylor regarding the use of the phrase “Dia Del Oso” and didn’t expect the situation to turn into a lawsuit.
“They told me the word ‘Dia’ was trademarked by the university — I knew ‘Dia Del Oso’ was trademarked so once they told me about those, we took down shirts that had ‘Dia Del Oso’ on them but they actually filed the trademark for the word ‘Dia’ on March 25 of this year right before they filed the suit,” Brimah said. “It all just felt like a play on their side to try and take down the t-shirts. I complied with them—I shut down the site and put a password on it so no one could get in, I disabled the checkout and unpublished the social images.”
Brimah mentioned that his goal with hosting the Lil Jon concert is to ultimately provide students with a fun and safe event to partake in during Diadeloso and that he hopes his experience planning events around the Baylor and Waco communities will help him further his career in the event and music industries.
“My biggest thing has been to try and foster a safer environment for students to have fun and party in. I’ve been in the party scene for a while and I’ve seen how disorganized things can get,” Brimah said. “This is something I’m very passionate about because the music industry is where I’m trying to get to. There’s not really a better way to get there than promoting events from the ground up — there’s a nice starter scene in college where you can book smaller artists and build a name for yourself over time. That’s the path I’ve been going on but it has been significantly more difficult because of Baylor and the image they want to uphold.”
Despite the difficulties that the concert has caused, Brimah said that the event will still occur but is not in any way affiliated with Baylor.