Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Universities battle over trademarks

New Jersey sports fans might be interested in learning about a trademark battle between Ohio State and Oklahoma State University as well as the University of Oklahoma. The schools have been arguing over their respective trademarks.

According to news sources, Oklahoma State University filed an extension of its patent of OSU after Ohio State University filed an application to use OSU on hats, sports gear and clothing in February 2017. The two schools negotiated an agreement in September 2017 over Ohio State's use of the acronym.

Recently, Ohio State University filed a suit against the University of Oklahoma with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, alleging that OU's use of the block O infringed on Ohio State's patent. The University of Oklahoma states that it has used the block O commercially since 2001. However, Ohio State argues that it has used the block O since 1898 and allowing OU to use it would lead to the potential for confusion.

More universities are aggressively enforcing their trademarks. University logos on products such as T-shirts and hats are a lucrative business, and the institutions work to protect their trademarks so that they do not lose money they would otherwise receive. Businesses might also benefit from trademarking their intellectual property so that their customers are not confused by competitors using similar marks. If a business believes that another company is infringing on its trademark, the business may want to consult with an intellectual property lawyer. An attorney may help clients with trademark enforcement so that the clients are better protected. An attorney might secure injunctions that prohibit the infringing party from the further use of the trademark and damages to make the clients whole.

Source: Sports Illustrated, "Ohio State files action against Oklahoma for use of block "O" trademark," Jenna West, Sept. 4, 2018.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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