The IP Law Minute - USC v. USC

USC v. USC No one would confuse the Trojans with the Gamecocks, but there was enough of a possibility of confusing "SC" logos that the University of Southern California sued the University of South Carolina. The issue? Should South Carolina be allowed to register a Federal trademark for an intertwined "SC" symbol for use by its baseball team? Southern California argued that it should not and filed suit, asserting the priority of its own trademarked logos. In response, South Carolina argued that the logo was unmistakably associated with the state. Indeed, the outcome of the dispute could be worth millions of dollars in marketing revenue for the winning school, a much more valuable victory than could be won on any playing field. The Trademark Trial and Appeals Board or TTAB sided with Southern California and, in a January 2010 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in favor of the University of Southern California. At the start of its 2010 term, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision, resulting in a de facto decision favoring Southern Cal. Lesson learned. When in doubt, priority of trademark usage and registration prevails. I'm David Baker and this is The IP Law Minute. [Trademarks are sole property of the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina.] [Original content (C) 2010 David Christopher Baker.]

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