Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rock Chalk Trademark

On June 17, 2013, the Lawrence Journal-World published an article entitled "Trademark protection a constant concern for KU" that explores the efforts the University of Kansas ("KU") exerts to protect its trademarks, including the famous KU Jayhawk.  Reporter Matt Erikson interviewed me about trademark law for the article.  Here is an excerpt:
It’s up to trademark holders to make sure their marks aren’t used improperly, Torrance said. If someone uses your trademark without your permission, it’s up to you to put a stop to it. And if you go too long without doing so — especially if there’s a reasonable chance you know it’s going on — there’s no going back.
Winners of the NCAA men's basketball national championships in 1952, 1988, and 2008, holders of many records (e.g., most winning seasons - 95 - in NCAA history), and perennially ranked as one of, and often the very best of, the top men's NCAA basketball teams, the hoops Jayhawks confer tremendous value to KU's trademarks.  However, both fans and entrepreneurs often express their enthusiasm for the Jayhawks by reproducing Jayhawk logos or phrases without permission.  It is a delicate balancing act for KU to police its trademarks sufficiently to preserve their value without alienating the very people whose support is the very lifeblood of these trademarks.