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A federal judge has dismissed a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against a local artist by the University of Alabama.
A painting from 1979 called "Goal Line Stand" is how it all started for sports artist Daniel Moore.
"It was the quintessential image I thought of Coach Bryant's defensive philosophy, 'Back up against the wall, stop 'em.' That was Alabama football," Moore said.
The 1976 Alabama grad had a love for the football program, which made a lasting, lucrative career for the artist. He sold paintings and merchandise depicting realistic images of the Crimson Tide.
"So we went from $35 for limited edition fine art prints to where we are now," Moore said.
But trouble came for Moore in 2005 when the University of Alabama sued him and his company New Life Art for trademark infringement. He says the University wanted him to license everything he produced.
It was a lawsuit Moore was ready to fight, he felt like what he painted was his.
"Because it's an expression of the artist, expressive speech is protected by Constitution," Moore said.
The court battle and appeals lasted eight and a half years. Last week U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon made a final ruling in the case in Moore's favor, denyng the University's claim.
"Hallelujah, its been a long road," said Stephen Heninger, Moore's attorney. He calls this a landmark case. "If Picasso...or Monet took a painting that was his and copyrighted by him, put it on a pencil or wall, coffee cup or lamp, doesn't matter. It's still his image and that's what we argued and we've been successful," said Heninger.
"I praise God for the victory," Moore said.
He says now he can focus just on his art, like his latest painting called "High Tide" depicting players from last year's SEC championship. Moore is hoping the end of all of the litigation means a new beginning between him and his beloved Alma Mater.
"I would like to get as much of the relationship restored that was damaged because of the lawsuit," Moore said.
Moore says he's hoping to work with the University and become an official sponsor and to be able to do some advertising and participate in thier media events.
FOX6 News did reach out to the University of Alabama to get a comment about the court ruling but our phone call wasn't returned.
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