A recent story out of Atlanta Georgia reconfirms the importance of trademark registration, trademark monitoring, and trademark litigation in the event of infringement. The Florida State University was forced to threaten a trademark infringement lawsuit against two Atlanta area schools for use of the Seminoles’ logo on both helmet and jersey. As the article quotes, the trademark infringement threat letter sent by Collegiate Licensing Company on behalf of Florida State University noted that the high school’s logo and mascot “may cause consumers to erroneously believe that the university has authorized Salem High School to use its marks. Additionally, it would dilute the distinctiveness of the marks that the public associates with the university.”
While observers may find Florida State to be overreaching, or even heartless in its pursuit of a high school’s use, trademark law does require active policing of one’s trademark in order to retain intellectual property rights. Therefore, the risk of losing rights in a trademark logo typically outweigh what some may spin as bad public relations.