Philadelphia Bar Demands St. Louis Company Stop Selling 'Play Gloria' T-Shirts

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click to enlarge Blues fans celebrate after the team's victory last month. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
Blues fans celebrate after the team's victory last month.

In the months since the St. Louis Blues began their miraculous — and some might say glorious — championship run, Laura Branigan's 1982 No. 2 hit has been bumped in the locker room, featured on cocktail mixes and even had a baby zebra named after it.

But now the phrase "Play Gloria" is featured in a cease-and-desist letter from the Philadelphia bar where St. Louis Blues players first began to chant it, Missouri Lawyers Weekly reports.

Arch Apparel, a St. Louis-based company, had begun marketing shirts with the phrase, and received 5,000 orders for them within 24 hours of posting the product online. That's when Philly-based the Jacks NYB, which has been selling its own shirts featuring the phrase, contacted it, Missouri Lawyers Weekly reports.

In a July 12 Facebook post, the bar defended itself, saying while it loves the Blues and their fans, and was proud to play a role in the historic run, the clothing company's move was "greedy" and "unethical." It claimed that other groups stopped using the phrase once the bar trademarked it, but Arch Apparel "ignored us and thrived."

"When we found out that other companies were using our the PLAY GLORIA trademark to make money off of it, we reached out to them to try to make a deal with them," the post reads. "If they are going to profit from it, why shouldn't we get a small piece of the pie. Wouldn't you? Why should they keep all of the profits?"

But some experts think the bar will have a tough time making their case in court. Mark Sableman, a partner at Thompson Coburn who specializes in trademark and copyright law, says a trademark is something that makes consumers think of a particular provider of goods.

"I suspect that Jacks NYB would have a tough time proving that when people hear 'Play Gloria,' they think that it refers to Jacks NYB, in the same way, for example, that people think that golden arches refer to McDonald's," he said in an email.

Arch Apparel has kept the link up, and plans to keep selling the shirts, Missouri Lawyers Weekly reports. But this isn't the first property penalty the clothing company has been accused of since the Blues won the Stanley Cup, as it has acknowledged on social media.

After the Blues' victory, the company began selling blue shirts with "Finally." emblazoned in yellow across the front, and an image of the Stanley Cup replacing the letter "i." Then the National Hockey League got in touch.

"Note: this design no longer includes the image of the Stanley Cup," a statement on the company's website reads. "Per the request of the NHL, we have adjusted this design to no longer represent any likeness to the Stanley Cup or other Intellectual Property of the NHL."

Here's what we do know: after defeating Boston in the Stanley Cup, St. Louis now faces off against Philadelphia. Will the St. Louis clothing company kill the Philly bar's power play? Or will the Philly bar sneak this one past the goaltender? Perhaps with Jordan Binnington in front of the counsel's table, St. Louis could prevail?

Editor's note: We updated this post about an hour after publication to include a quote from attorney Mark Sableman.
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