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Thread: Trademark protection - need some legal education

  1. #1

    Default Trademark protection - need some legal education

    I know we have a couple of people on the board with degrees in law, and I am hoping someone can explain the need for this to me.

    They ask Tigers to change their stripes
    By Mike Penner
    March 27, 2009
    While the Tigers of Missouri were preparing to face the Tigers of Memphis in the third round of the NCAA men's tournament, the lawyers representing Missouri turned their attention to the Tigers of Harrisburg School District in southeastern South Dakota.

    Collegiate Licensing Co., which handles trademarks for the NCAA, contacted the high school about its logo, calling it "confusingly similar" to the one used by Missouri, and suggested the school stop using it. Harrisburg agreed to phase out the existing logo, although 11 South Dakota schools have tigers for their mascots. Meanwhile, Harrisburg senior Jessa Knust wonders what the fuss is all about. "It's just a small school in South Dakota," she said. "I don't know why they care so much."

    It seems terribly petty to me.

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trademark protection - need some legal education

    Here are just few high school logos from my area.

    All are clearly "confusingly similar" logos.
    There are many more examples.

    I think Missouri should find better things to do.

  3. #3
    Olympic Champ
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    Apr 2007
    It's a long way from East Colorado

    Default Re: Trademark protection - need some legal education

    Well, it goes to show that property rights usually reign superior to all other considerations.

    I don't know but I'll just venture a guess what is happening. The Collegiate Licensing lawyers probably think their position may be weakened if they allow other schools, no matter how small, to have a similar logo to one of their products. They're thinking hypothetically if some one else comes along (let's call them "National" Licensing) and sells "similar" logos, and National actually has some financial clout, and if Collegiate attempts to curtail National's similar logo, that National could argue to a court, "Look, Collegiate didn't do anything about these other schools to enforce their trademark claim so how can they challenge us?" (at which point they show that their "similar" logo is more similar to the small schools than to Mizzou's). Having worked with corporate lawyers before, I'll say they can be very very conservative. But it's arguably their job to be so.
    Last edited by matclone; 03-29-2009 at 03:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    New Jersey

    Default Re: Trademark protection - need some legal education

    Trade "marks" identify the source or origin of products and services.
    "Marks" can lose their source-identifying function through abandonment. Abandoned "marks" may be "thrown away", abondoned intentionally as when an owner fails to use a mark for a specified period, and does not intend to resume use, or abandoned unintentionally, through improper use. Abandonment through unenforced improper use is the risk Mizzou is avoiding. Same for Wisconsin a few years back when they targeted the floppy "W".

    If an entity other than the trademark owner, uses a mark on its own products, in its own way, the mark's ability to function as an indicator of source is diminished. For this reason, all third-party uses of a mark should be licensed, and monitored carefully. Unlicensed uses, or unmonitored thirty-party licensing, can result in a finding that a mark has been abandoned.

    If Mizzou were to lose the "mark" for the Tiger, it would lose the licensing rights for all that use the tiger, not just those it is awaqre of and choose not to enforce. That would likely be a hefty income hit to the University athletic program which is typically the entity holding the trademark for the mascots.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trademark protection - need some legal education

    Matclone and RU - thanks - that explains it. I kind of figured it was one of those "if you don't do it to everyone, you can't do it to anyone" deals.

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

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