Wednesday, March 12, 2014

University Trademarks

This in from Slate.com:

"What do the following phrases or sayings have in common?
  • first-year experience
  • fast-track MBA
  • be the difference
  • cure violence
  • student life
  • students with diabetes
  • one course at a time
  • touched by a nurse
  • we're conquering cancer
  • working toward a world without cancer
  • imagination beyond measure
  • tomorrow starts here
                         
The surprising answer (as revealed in an article by Jacob H. Rooksby in The Chronicle of Higher Education) is that using any of them just might get you sued by a university or college."
 
Which got me thinking, what trademarks does The Ohio State University own? A quick field search of the USPTO's trademark search engine reveals 70 trademark registrations, only a handful of which are no longer live marks. Alas, two of my favorites fall into this dead mark category: FEAR THE NUT for t-shirts and GOLDPANTS for Computerized online ordering featuring general merchandise and general consumer goods.
 
What about TBDBITL? Only one mark resulted, and it was for TBDBITL ALUMNI CLUB. Does that mean you can go out and register the mark to take advantage of The Ohio State University's marching band reputation? The basic answer is "probably not," but if you're asked by counsel for the university, where would you turn to develop your concrete analysis? Try these resources: