SBD/March 8, 2011/Colleges

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  • Univ. Of Memphis Closely Monitoring Unauthorized Use Of Logo

    UM alumnus designed and gave leaping tiger logo to the university

    Regulation and protection of the Univ. of Memphis' leaping tiger logo "has come to a point where even on-campus organizations are being warned to stop lifting the logo for their own purposes," according to Sara Patterson of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The "iconic golden orange tiger leaping over a royal blue, block-letter M" was given to the UM athletic department, in-kind, by Craig Thompson, a "graphic design alumnus who was looking for season tickets to Tiger basketball games at The Pyramid." As with all universities, a "small cut from 'official' merchandise sales goes back to the institution." In recent years, UM has "taken measures to ensure it gets every penny that can be squeezed from the 9 percent royalty attached to the trademarked logo." UM Associate AD Bob Winn said that the school has made a "conscious effort to 'ride herd' on unauthorized logo use on campus in the past five years ... to clear confusion between NCAA sports and other clubs or organizations." Patterson noted each morning, Winn "pulls up his e-mail and goes through requests from vendors asking, and paying, to use the athletic logos on goods." Without his approval, "use of the logo is illegal." UM "repeatedly denied" Lacrosse club coach Ryan Pavlicek's requests to don the logo on-field. Pavlicek said, "I get to use a generic 'M' with a generic lacrosse stick. It's a generic 'Memphis' on our jerseys. This has become about recognition and pride. These kids want to wear their school on their chest and helmet and are being denied that much." In '10, the "independent student newspaper located on campus, The Daily Helmsman, changed its masthead and incorporated the leaping Tiger logo." It ran "two days before university legal counsel intervened, explaining that the newspaper could face a lawsuit for pirating the trademark" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 3/5).

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