To The Point Blog

Protecting your School’s Logo, Name, and Mascot from Unauthorized Use

Oct 28, 2014

Schools often call us regarding unauthorized use of the school’s name, logo, or mascot.  Typically the issue involves a retailer selling apparel with the school’s logos.  Such unauthorized use violates a school’s strong interest in protecting the school’s image and brand, but schools are unsure about how to:

  1. stop this use and;
  2. protect from further use. 

Frequently, schools are surprised to learn that their names, logos, and mascots (their “marks”) may be protected and the use may be stopped.

First, your school’s marks may be protected even if the marks are unregistered.  Provided the mark is found valid, a school can use common law remedies to stop others from using its marks.  Legal counsel can assist you in determining whether your marks could be protected.

Second, your school may take additional steps to protect its marks by registering the marks with the state or federal government.  There are advantages to doing this.  First, your school puts the public on notice regarding your school’s ownership of the mark.  Second, your school becomes the presumed owner of the mark.  Third, your school obtains the exclusive right to use the mark on, or in, connection with its services.  Fourth, if another entity uses the mark, your school can obtain statutory damages in addition to stopping the entity from using the mark. 

Whether your school’s particular mark can be protected or registered depends on a number of factors.  Legal counsel can assist your school in determining the likelihood that school’s name, logo, or mascot can be protected and identifying the most efficient way to protect these marks. 

 

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.