Rutgers Forces LA High School To Change Logos Due To Its 'R' Trademark

from the r-you-kidding-me? dept

Over the years, we've seen plenty of aggression from universities when it comes to trademark enforcement. The impetus for much of this was rulings nearly a decade ago that essentially gave universities far broader and more exclusive rights to their school logos. The fallout of those rulings became schools going after all kinds of uses and near-uses of those logos, including a strange war on pastries, and colleges going after high schools for using similar iconography.

The latter continues to the present. The latest version of this is Rutgers, in New Jersey, forcing a Louisiana high school to change its logo because it was essentially the same as Rutgers' famed "R" logo.

New Jersey's flagship university has asked a high school in Louisiana to change its logo because it's identical to the block "R'' that Rutgers has trademarked.

Lincoln Parish Schools official Ricky Durrett tells the Courier News of Bridgewater the company that manages Rutgers' brand requested Ruston High School stop using it.

Rutgers says the high school has 10 years to replace the logo on gear, social media platforms and on the school's website.

The logos, to be fair, are somewhat similar, although it seems that's more a function of them being a single letter than anything else. (Rutgers' is on the bottom.)


On the one hand, look, Rutgers' demand timelines aren't wholly oppressive. Ten years is a nice stretch of time within which Lincoln Parish can work. On the other hand, allowing for such a timeline only seems to solidify the impression that none of this is really necessary to begin with. Is Rutgers really suggesting that someone is going to be confused between the NJ school and LA high school? Is there some odd concern that parents of high school students will think they're supporting Rutgers by buying the high school's apparel? Is anyone, anyone at all, really going to be confused about any of this?

The answer sure feels like "no." Rutgers likely would state that it must take these actions or risk losing its trademark. Except that's only the case if there is the actual potential for confusion and if a court bought that it was operating in the same marketplace as a high school many states away. Both seem unlikely to me.

But, of course, the high school is changing its logo rather than fighting against the much larger Rutgers.

Filed Under: college, high schools, r, ruston high school, trademark
Companies: rutgers


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Aug 2019 @ 5:58pm

    Quandry

    So what is Ruston High School going to do?

    1. Change the font?

    2. Change it to a 'B' for Bearcats and hunt for a 'B' that is a different font than any other 'B' that is trademarked as a logo?

    3. Spend lots of money that should be for education on litigating what shouldn't be a problem?

    4. More than one of the above?

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 23 Aug 2019 @ 9:04pm

    R, you are pirates!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2019 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      Heh, I was thinking of one of them "blasting off again".....

      Seriously, the trademarking of idiotic crap needs to stop. You shouldn't be able to trademark a letter, or a speech component. (THE!) By itself it's not transformative, no matter how much you try to pretty it up.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2019 @ 3:31pm

        Re: trademarking silly things

        Some dang fool let a certain parcel company trademark the colour "brown"... and now they're trying to export these same bad laws to Canada?

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

  • identicon
    David, 24 Aug 2019 @ 3:02am

    So this is R®?

    Sorry, just had to. That being said, if you do manage to trademark that red logo R and are exactly in the same market segment, I don't see how this is not indeed a confusion of trade dress. You certainly could not expect a group of drunken football fans to be able to differentiate the logos enough to be hitting or hitting on the correct subset of a group of fans when differentiated only by those two logos on their shirts.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2019 @ 3:46am

    I wonder how long before they go after Riverdale High for the same logo issue.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 24 Aug 2019 @ 4:02am

    I hope that school has a star athlete that Rutgers wants to recruit who decides to commit elsewhere because of this.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2019 @ 12:16pm

      Re:

      Point of order, sir. Star athletes do not attend Rutgers University.

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

      • identicon
        Bruce C., 25 Aug 2019 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Which in turn proves that Rutgers does traffic in the same market: Their program is clearly high-school quality. And they've played away games in Louisiana in the past.

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

  • icon
    That Other Guy (profile), 24 Aug 2019 @ 5:37am

    Someone should trademark the ® symbol.

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


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