SBD/January 16, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Univ. Of Texas To Trademark Strong-Related Themes, Start Selling Merchandise

T-shirts with the "Stronghorns" moniker have already been pulled
Univ. of Texas athletics department reps are asking entrepreneurs selling gear "emblazoned" with football coach Charlie Strong's name or likeness to stop, as the school is "seeking to secure trademark rights on at least some Strong-related themes and phrasing," according to Gary Dinges of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Shirts and gear "using the words 'Stronghorns,' 'Texas Strong' and 'UT Strong' showed up for sale both online and in some area stores, but those items were pulled after merchants were contacted by UT athletics." U.S. Patent & Trademark Office records show that the UT System has "already moved to trademark 'Stronghorns.'" The '13 UT athletics report showed $9M "in net revenue from trademark licensing." The College Licensing Co. said that UT "ranked No. 1 in the nation" among colleges in '12. UT Associate AD Craig Westemeier said that the university on apparel and non-apparel items "typically gets a royalty rate" of 12%, and Strong as is "usually the case ... wouldn't get any of that cash." U.S. Copyright Office records this week "showed 'Stronghorns,' 'Texas Strong' and 'UT Strong' ... hadn’t been copyrighted." At least 10 applications "have been filed by individuals and businesses" to the USPTO when it comes to "Texas Strong," but none of them came from UT. Westemeier said that the wait for officially licensed Strong-related apparel "shouldn’t be much longer," as it is "already in production and should hit stores as soon as this week" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/15).

OFFENSIVE, FOUL: INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY's Simon Moya-Smith noted one specific T-shirt "among the bevy" of unauthorized Florida State fan merchandise that has surfaced on the web since the BCS Championship last week has school officials "rushing to see that it is discontinued." The T-shirt, manufactured by RowdyGentlemen.com, "has the words, 'SCALP ‘EM!,' emblazoned across the chest," and below the text "is an arrow and tomahawk." FSU VP/University Relations Liz Maryanski said that school officials "began measures for an 'emergency cease and desist' of all sales of the offensive T-shirt." She added, "We would never license that shirt. That term is extremely derogatory and it’s offensive" (INDIANCOUNTRYTODAYMEDIANETWORK.com, 1/14).
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