Tide loses lawsuit to famed sports artist

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that artist Daniel Moore did not violate trademark laws by painting scenes of University of Alabama football without licensing the work through the university.

The university sued Moore in 2005, alleging that he painted scenes of Crimson Tide football games without permission and reissued licensed prints without paying royalties.

Moore denied violating trademark laws and claimed his art is speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Propst, in an opinion issued Monday, (READ FULL OPINION) rejected the university's argument that Moore's paintings showed trade dress. Propst said the depiction of uniforms is incidental to the purpose of the paintings.

Moore called the ruling a victory for artists.

Deborah Lane, spokeswoman for the University of Alabama, issued the following statement:

"We appreciate the work of Judge Propst in dealing with these complicated issues. We agree with portions of his opinion, but respectfully disagree with others. As Judge Propst has stated repeatedly, these issues will ultimately be decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. We will continue to do our best to protect the property rights of The University of Alabama."

An appeal is planned.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)