Seahawks reach 5-year licensing deal with Texas A&M

The Seattle Seahawks will pay $140,000 to Texas A&M for limited rights to the school's "12th Man" trademark as part of a new five-year deal announced Thursday between the two parties.

As part of the new five-year deal obtained by ESPN, the Seahawks will pay a royalty fee of $18,000 a year for using the mark in the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks also will have to pay $10,000 a year to the Aggies to help support the school in its fight to protect the trademark.

Unlike the terms of the earlier deals, which were initiated in 2006 and re-signed in 2011, the Seahawks will no longer use "12th Man" on their Ring of Honor, nor will the team use "12th Man" on its social media handles. The team has never been permitted to put "12th Man" on merchandise.

"We are obviously pleased to have in place the new agreement with the Seattle Seahawks that serves to control and minimize any use of Texas A&M's trademark '12th Man' by any entity other than Texas A&M and its authorized licensees," Texas A&M system chancellor John Sharp said in a statement.

Over the past couple of years, the Seahawks have used the "12th Man" phrase on fewer occasions as the team has shifted to using "12" and "12s," which Seattle has sought to own.

The Seahawks filed for their first "12" trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in April 2006 with "Spirit of 12," which it became a registered owner of in 2008. Since then, the Seahawks -- under their parent company, Football Northwest -- filed for trademarks using "12" or "12s" on 52 occasions.

The Seahawks are the owners of "12," "The 12s," "We Are 12s."

Texas A&M and the Seahawks began working together after the university took legal action against the team for using the phrase Texas A&M had trademarked in 1990 without its permission.

After the initial lump sum of $100,000 in 2006, the Seahawks had been paying $5,000 a year. The amount of the fee in the new deal that runs through 2021 is unknown.

As with the former contracts, the compensation is not expected to be large, but it is nonetheless important for the school. Having a contract for use with an NFL team further helps establish the value of Texas A&M's trademark.

In November, Texas A&M sued the Indianapolis Colts for using the "12th Man" without the school's permission. The lawsuit was settled with no money changing hands after the Colts agreed to stop using it.