Unfortunately, unscrupulous businesses are taking advantage of the craze to produce unlicensed likenesses and sell them to unsuspecting customers. That has forced Louisiana Sportsman's parent company, Louisiana Publishing, to take action to defend the trademark.
"We are proud that people love our logo," Louisiana Publishing's Ann Taylor said Nov. 18. "But we have to defend our logo or we'll lose it."
A comprehensive lawsuit – a reverse class action, if you will – is currently being prepared to cover all businesses profiting from the illegal sale of the logo.
"There are pretty high minimum fines if you get caught," she said.
Taylor is asking loyal Louisiana Sportsman fans to help by reporting suspected fraudulent sales. Anyone who reports a business that turns out to be illegally producing and selling the trademark will receive a free Louisiana Sportsman T-shirt, Taylor said.
Readers are asked to e-mail the name of the business and a photo of the suspect logo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cell-phone photos are fine.
To be clear, there are legitimate distributors. Academy Sports + Outdoors is one, and Taylor said there are others.
"If it's a main-stream sporting store, most of those are OK," Taylor said.
The biggest violators are embroidery stores, decal or sign shops, and craft stores.
"If it's embroidered it's illegal because we do not have anybody (licensed) embroiderers right now," Taylor said.
When it comes to decals, Taylor said a major tip-off is the packaging.
"Our decals will come in packaging that includes a statement that it is the official Louisiana Sportsman logo," she explained. "A lot of the decal stores are selling them without the packaging."
While T-shirt sales are legal in many outlets, that's not always the case.
"We've had some reports of some mall kiosks selling the shirts, and we haven't licensed any of them," Taylor said. "Those are all illegal."
Jewelers have even begun to produce Louisiana Sportsman logo jewelry, all of which are unlicensed.
An apparent major misconception by some of these businesses is that a minor change to the logo's design skirts trademark infringement.
"If it resembles our logo, it has to be licensed," Taylor said. "You can't change the eye (of the logo's deer) or something like that and use it."
Taylor stressed that Sportsman publishing is currently selling licenses to qualified businesses to sell the logo.
"We don't want to have to punish people, but we have to to protect our trademark."