U.S. District Judge Alan Albright has ordered organizers of a Lil Jon concert on the day of Baylor University’s Diadeloso festival to stop using Baylor branding and trademarks in their promotional material.
The university sued Baylor alumnus Umar Brimah and his company, Bleux LLC, last week in Waco’s U.S. District Court, alleging trademark infringement related to “The Dia Gang,” a group organized by Brimah.
Brimah said the concert will go on as planned, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Brazos Parking, a privately owned space across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Baylor’s McLane Stadium. The event is not affiliated with Baylor or Diadeloso, he said.
In its complaint, the university alleges Brimah is “attempting to capitalize on Baylor’s Diadeloso festival by organizing and promoting a rival concert using the Dia marks,” including the Baylor logo and the words “Dia” and “Diadeloso.”
“Baylor University is required to protect its trademarks and intellectual property in order to maintain trademark registrations,” according to a university statement. “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.
“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.”
The university started giving a daylong break from classes in early spring in 1932, and the festivities went by several names until students voted in 1966 to rename the annual holiday Diadeloso, or Day of the Bear, according to a page on this year’s event.
This year, it includes opportunities for hot air balloon rides, activities, meals, athletic competitions and performances throughout the day.
Judge Albright’s order Tuesday states Baylor is likely to succeed in its claims and requires Brimah to stop using Baylor references in promotional material for the concert.
The suit alleges Brimah sent mass emails to Baylor students from the email addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and Lil_John@baylor.edu. The emails had subject lines including “Lil Jon Dia Giveaway Results,” “F---ing Limited Dia tees,” and “Open Letter to Students: Dia 2019.”
One of the emails said Baylor has “increase[d] its efforts to end Dia,” according to the lawsuit. The group’s promotional materials are spin-offs of pop culture and political slogans.
The suit states Brimah had red hats and white T-shirts for sale printed with the words “Make Dia Thursday Again,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan and some students’ desire for Baylor to schedule Diadeloso on a Thursday, as it was several years ago.
Other T-shirts make reference to lyrics by rappers Kanye West and Drake, and another is directed at Baylor President Linda Livingstone, with the words “Livingstone Make Dia Thursday Again.”
Another T-shirt is printed with a drawing of Baylor’s “Sailor Bear” mascot wearing a bandana and a backpack, according to the lawsuit.
In an email response to questions, Brimah said he faced disciplinary action as a Baylor student in 2016 when he organized another concert, featuring the Ying Yang Twins.
“Events and hospitality are my passion, so I plan on doing what is necessary to succeed in such a competitive industry,” he wrote. “I believe that if I can navigate the very complicated Waco market, then I will be prepared for most of the challenges that face me in the future.”
He said he learned during his time at Baylor that off-campus parties “can be incredibly disorganized” and often lead to dangerous situations for students “just looking to have a good time and enjoy college.” He started his company, Bleux, to create a safe environment for students, he said.
Baylor spokesman Jason Cook said Brimah is free to continue with the concert.
“The issue before the court is that he can no longer promote his nonuniversity event or produce apparel in conjunction with Baylor’s Diadeloso trademarks or any other Baylor-related trademarks,” Cook said. “Diadeloso is a Baylor event that is held on campus, and we will protect our ownership of this cherished tradition.”