Court Says U Of Southern California Only One Who Can Use USC; Sorry U Of South Carolina

from the trademark-madness dept

DEF points us to a recent appeals court (federal circuit) ruling that held that the University of South Carolina cannot use the letters USC on its sports uniforms because the University of Southern California already claims those letters. Seriously. It's hard to see how this makes much sense at all. USC is an accurate acronym for both schools, and it makes no sense to limit it. In an amazingly obnoxious gloating victory note, the lawyer for the USC from California "suggested that the letters were more deservedly linked to the Trojans' warrior image than to 'a goofy little chicken,'" by which he meant the logo of the South Carolina teams. The lawyer for the USC from the east coast noted that "Southern manners" kept him from responding to that point.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:25am

    That's absurd

    What is the Ultimate Stag Challenge going to do next week?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Well, yeah...

    "The lawyer for the USC from the east coast noted that "Southern manners" kept him from responding to that point."

    Hey, you figure out how to use the word Gamecocks w/o everyone giggling....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Vic, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Oops...

    I see Michigan State is coming with a similar lawsuit... No, seriously I was flipping the channels couple of days ago and was stunned to see that NAU plays MSU. Until I quickly realize that was Montana State...

    And many more?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:50am

    USC in my mind will always be...

    "University of Spoiled Children"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:59am

      Re: USC in my mind will always be...

      You are referring correctly to the one university now cleared to use the acronym on their sports gear. Spoiled, talentless children, and proud of it.

      Silly, though, because you would think that South Carolina had a better case.. I mean "Spoiled Children" isn't even a state!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Drtaxsacto (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:15am

      Re: USC in my mind will always be...

      Must be a Bruin

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 12:07pm

      Re: USC in my mind will always be...

      I always thought is was U$C

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    imbrucy (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 9:54am

    When SMS became Missouri State a few years ago, they were very careful to not use MSU anywhere because of fear of a lawsuit from Michigan State. It is absurd that anyone can own 3 letters even when they are both accurate descriptions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    MBraedley (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:06am

    All they (either one) need to do is change it to UofSC.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      If your first name happens to be Milton, then I, as someone from Chicago, will thank you not to comment on sports related matters hence forth.

      Just on general principles.

      That is all....

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Sean T Henry, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      No what University of South Carolina needs to do not to save money and shove it back in USC's face it change it from USC to USCa.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ed, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:17am

    MSU vs. MSU

    I can't really see Michigan State trying to stop Montana State, mainly because they played them in football this year in a MSU on MSU game. If there was some contention between the schools, I can't believe they would have agreed to the game.

    I can't believe USC actually did this and actually won, really sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Spanky, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Sigh

    I just wish we could return to the days when sports was about sports.

    I'd actually feel like buying the crap with the USC logo then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    scarr (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:30am

    I wonder what this means for all of the UCs out there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chris (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:53am

    While I like that

    South Carolina lost (I am a Clemson alumni) the premise of this is just stupid. The full implications of this are just amazing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MAtt, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:55am

    This makes perfectly good sense

    I just wonder why USC uses a condom as their mascot...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:40pm

      Re: This makes perfectly good sense

      Last time I checked, Troy existed long before condoms were even invented. You might wanna open that dusty, ol' history book. :)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    drtaxsacto, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 10:58am

    The use of USC

    Actually, this is not the first instance. The University of Santa Clara changed its name to Santa Clara University so as to avoid the misinterpretation. They are now SCU. USC, Trojans, have always been known as USC, so it sounds about right to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    impiri, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Correction

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of this article, the facts are a bit off. The source article left out quite a few significant details.

    The lawsuit wasn't about the letters "USC". It's about one specific configuration of letters: the interlocking letters "SC" as used by the baseball programs of both schools. Southern California argued that South Carolina's logo was confusingly similar. (As a South Carolina alumnus and a Techdirt fan, I think that's ridiculous, but hey.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    a-dub (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:06am

    She's displays that sign so enthusiastically.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Xavier, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Usual

    This is nothing new. University of Tennessee cannot use UT because University of Texas has it. Tennessee even had to stop their band from making the U formation and now does everything as the power T.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Palmyra (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Oh don't worry about it!

    When the NCAA gets finished with USC over the Reggie Bush violations they are not going to be much of a sports school for some time to come.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jon Healey, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Trademarking the alphabet

    Hey, Mike, impiri's right on this one. There's no trademarking letters of the alphabet; otherwise, we'd all be paying royalties to Children's Television Workshop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:29am

    OSU
    The Ohio State Univesity
    Oklahoma State University
    Oregon State University

    yadda yadda yadda..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    interval, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Lawyer for the U of S. California == Class A Ass.
    Lawyer for U of S. Carolina == True Gentleman.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    dh, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    This country is like a bad sitcom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Bob Bunderfeld (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Date Started?

    Why Southern Cal is allowed USC over South Carolina I don't understand.

    University of South Carolina was established in 1805, while University of Southern California was established in 1880. It would seem to me that if either of these two Schools had the "right" to use the letters of USC, the one who was established first should be given that "right".

    Like many though, it's still silly to think that USC can only mean "University of Southern California". Although, with Lane Kiffin now at USC (West) I imagine the Dean of the College is doing everything he can to make sure USC stays with USC (West) even after the NCAA deals them a Death Penalty of Recruiting Violations.



    Bob

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Charles, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    "USC is an accurate acronym for both schools..."

    Just to clarify. USC is not an acronym. It is an abbreviation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      "Just to clarify. USC is not an acronym. It is an abbreviation."

      Nonsense poopy pants!

      "Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations that are formed using the initial components in a phrase or name." (Wikipedia)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Quick Brown Fox, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    SoCal is also an abbreviation for USC, although not as widely used. Apparently the lawyers (the real winners of this case) had no problem with it's alleged misuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    athe, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Make it 'UoSC', but make the 'o' so small as to only be visible up close...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Fred McTaker (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 3:56pm

    This trademark dispute came up before, between the same schools

    This all started with UoS-California's "USC Graphic Identity Program" in 1994. They won the right to the USC trademark back then, after a similar legal fight with UoS-Carolina, so that they could make it a standard part of their letterhead, etc.

    This SC interlock logo seems more about the sports promotion side, and UoS-California was first to market with their use. The Gamecocks not only tried a similar interlocking SC pattern on sportswear, but also had similar shades of red on the lettering to the existing TM.

    A reminder: Trademark ownership is not based on first to business or even first to use, but only the first registered use in commerce. The game company Insomniac Games won a similar TM scuffle against another game company Insomniac Studios, because Insomniac Games were the first company with a game on the shelves with their "Insomniac" TM on the packaging. Insomniac Studios changed their name before their first release to resolve it. Insomniac is still a dictionary word that anyone can use. The fight here is over branding and use in commerce or promotion, not about who can use the USC abbreviation in other contexts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    UT

    The University of Texas better get to court fast before the University of Tennessee snaps up the rights to "UT".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dan, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 7:38pm

    Image

    We now have an image of a group of greedy self centered idiots with an ribbed prophylactic as a mascot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    thomas, Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:03pm

    just wondering..

    how much the california people slipped under the tableto the judge?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Yogi, Feb 4th, 2010 @ 3:14am

    USC vs USC

    USC: U Sux Cock

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    IntLibber (profile), Feb 4th, 2010 @ 3:44am

    The proper ruling, a judge would have prohibited Southern California from having the word "Southern" in its name since its not in the South, i.e. was never a member of the Confederate States of America. He would then order them renamed the University of Ozone California...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2014 @ 10:45pm

      Re:

      Maybe the Confederate states shouldn't be called "the South," since technically they're on the Northern Hemisphere. :)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Danny, Feb 4th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    This is stupid. Anyone that is a fan of either will know which is which by colors (BTW what are U of SCalifornia's colors?). So.Cal. did this knowing full well that most people associate USC with South Carolina (I mean I've never even heard of U of Sout. Cal. until now) and they wanted that recognition. Does anyone know if these two schools meet in any college sports? I don't like college sports that much but I would go to said game just to cheer for U of South Carolina.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Joe, Oct 8th, 2012 @ 2:14am

      Re:

      You have never heard of USC..what ROCK do you live under...yo u must live in the DEEP DEEP DEEP South..in the Hill so Tennessee !!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dom, Feb 4th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    a state should get the ruling over a part of a state in this situation.
    at which point did this become a problem becuase this is pretty stupid to have a court case over.. and simply put if they confuse you with someone else then youre not doin a good enough job out on the field to make name for yourself

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Tim, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Even though South Carolina's school was started before Southern California, Southern California first went by "University of Southern California" before South Carolina College changed their name to "University of South Carolina." Look it up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    SouthCakC23, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 6:22am

    look it up!

    USC was first charted as a college in 1805. They were first chartered as a UNIVERSITY in 1866. So Cal was chartered as a University in 1880. I have no problem with So Cal keeping the rights to "SC".....but some people keep ignorantly referring to So Cal as USC. Thr Trojans have a "SC" on their athletic team uniforms for a reason: THEY ARE NOT USC!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    WBT986, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Yeah, because being named after a Revolutionary War commander who earned the nickname the Carolina Gamecock for his fierce battle tactics is much more silly than being named after an ancient civilization who is known for being wiped out in a war and has no connection to the state of California. Well I guess I can see how a silly chicken threatens the Trojans warrior image. The Gamecocks mascot historically has a warrior image and the Trojans are legendary for losing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ron Clamp, Oct 13th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    USC

    Univ of Southern California was chartered in 1880
    University of South Carolina was chartered in 1801

    The lawyer for southern california obviously doesn't know the difference between a chicken and a c0ck. If saying gamecock makes you giggle you probably wouldn't know what its used for if you had one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This