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Wisconsin, Washburn wrangling over ?W? logos


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Wisconsin, Washburn wrangling over ?W? logos

The Associated Press

Published Tuesday, December 4, 2007

MADISON, Wis. ? This legal dispute is sponsored by the letter W.

For the first time, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is taking another school to court to protect the trademark of its prized W logo.

The university filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit last week against Washburn University in Topeka. The 7,200-student university uses a W to promote its athletics teams.

The lawsuit says Washburn?s Ws are too similar to Wisconsin?s so-called Motion W logo.

?Washburn is making use of both identical and confusingly similar variations of the Motion W mark, in a blatant attempt to trade on the goodwill of Wisconsin,? the suit says.

Washburn spokeswoman Dena Anson said the university hasn?t yet received the lawsuit. But she called the controversy baffling.

?We don?t understand how the two Ws could be a point of confusion,? Anson said.

The Wisconsin lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Washburn from using the Motion W mark or any trademark similar to Wisconsin?s and demands that Washburn recall and destroy any infringing products. It also seeks compensation for profits Washburn earned on its logo and punitive damages.

The university has aggressively defended the logo used by UW-Madison athletic teams since 1990, but it has never taken another school to court.

?It?s unfortunate and certainly regrettable from our perspective,? said Casey Nagy, an assistant to UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley. ?We really haven?t had this kind of situation develop with a college or university.?

The lawsuit says UW-Madison lawyers have badgered Washburn over the last six years to stop using the logos. Washburn has repeatedly assured Wisconsin it will stop but has instead expanded its use, the suit claims.

The lawsuit accuses Washburn of ?willfully, intentionally and maliciously? using the Motion W logo to deceive consumers and cause confusion.

For example:

Washburn's current "W" logo:

washburn_logo.jpg

Wisconsin's "W" logo:

wis-logo-100.gif

Washburn did have a "W" logo that was an exact copy of Wisconsin's on their football helmets from 1996-2002.

you can view it here.

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Wisconsin, Washburn wrangling over ?W? logos

The Associated Press

Published Tuesday, December 4, 2007

MADISON, Wis. ? This legal dispute is sponsored by the letter W.

For the first time, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is taking another school to court to protect the trademark of its prized W logo.

The university filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit last week against Washburn University in Topeka. The 7,200-student university uses a W to promote its athletics teams.

The lawsuit says Washburn?s Ws are too similar to Wisconsin?s so-called Motion W logo.

?Washburn is making use of both identical and confusingly similar variations of the Motion W mark, in a blatant attempt to trade on the goodwill of Wisconsin,? the suit says.

Washburn spokeswoman Dena Anson said the university hasn?t yet received the lawsuit. But she called the controversy baffling.

?We don?t understand how the two Ws could be a point of confusion,? Anson said.

The Wisconsin lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Washburn from using the Motion W mark or any trademark similar to Wisconsin?s and demands that Washburn recall and destroy any infringing products. It also seeks compensation for profits Washburn earned on its logo and punitive damages.

The university has aggressively defended the logo used by UW-Madison athletic teams since 1990, but it has never taken another school to court.

?It?s unfortunate and certainly regrettable from our perspective,? said Casey Nagy, an assistant to UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley. ?We really haven?t had this kind of situation develop with a college or university.?

The lawsuit says UW-Madison lawyers have badgered Washburn over the last six years to stop using the logos. Washburn has repeatedly assured Wisconsin it will stop but has instead expanded its use, the suit claims.

The lawsuit accuses Washburn of ?willfully, intentionally and maliciously? using the Motion W logo to deceive consumers and cause confusion.

For example:

Washburn's current "W" logo:

washburn_logo.jpg

Wisconsin's "W" logo:

motion_w.jpg

Washburn did have a "W" logo that was an exact copy of Wisconsin's on their football helmets from 1996-2002.

you can view it here.

Ha! Clever punnary.

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Can anybody tell me why this should not be considered theft?

The current Washburn W is not the same.

That is why.

Now, the use of the Wisconsin W on the helmets and such several years ago is clearly theft. It was simply a recolored version of the Wisconsin logo.

But the current logo differs enough to stand alone in my opinion.

The lines are different, eventhough the logo is a similar style.

If they say the "New" Washburn logo is infringing, then what's to say they couldn't argue that ANY W logo infringes.

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Can anybody tell me why this should not be considered theft?

The current Washburn W is not the same.

That is why.

Now, the use of the Wisconsin W on the helmets and such several years ago is clearly theft. It was simply a recolored version of the Wisconsin logo.

But the current logo differs enough to stand alone in my opinion.

The lines are different, eventhough the logo is a similar style.

If they say the "New" Washburn logo is infringing, then what's to say they couldn't argue that ANY W logo infringes.

"The lawsuit says UW-Madison lawyers have badgered Washburn over the last six years to stop using the logos. Washburn has repeatedly assured Wisconsin it will stop but has instead expanded its use, the suit claims."

If the above statment is true, it could give the impression that Washburn knew it was infringing and either ignored Wisconsin's complaint or didn't revise the "W" enough. I'll be interested to see how this one turns out.

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Can anybody tell me why this should not be considered theft?

The current Washburn W is not the same.

That is why.

Now, the use of the Wisconsin W on the helmets and such several years ago is clearly theft. It was simply a recolored version of the Wisconsin logo.

But the current logo differs enough to stand alone in my opinion.

The lines are different, eventhough the logo is a similar style.

If they say the "New" Washburn logo is infringing, then what's to say they couldn't argue that ANY W logo infringes.

"The lawsuit says UW-Madison lawyers have badgered Washburn over the last six years to stop using the logos. Washburn has repeatedly assured Wisconsin it will stop but has instead expanded its use, the suit claims."

If the above statment is true, it could give the impression that Washburn knew it was infringing and either ignored Wisconsin's complaint or didn't revise the "W" enough. I'll be interested to see how this one turns out.

Well, at least that is what they are saying.

Any Washburn Merchandise that is sold with a "W" on it, has the newer "W" logo, not the recolored Wisconsin version.

I have a couple of items with the newer logo.

Although I prefer to Ichabod logo to the W anyways.

I don't remember anything being sold with the old "W" logo on it. Aside from a few mini-helmets that I've seen.

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The lawsuit accuses Washburn of ?willfully, intentionally and maliciously? using the Motion W logo to deceive consumers and cause confusion.

This is what we in the business call "the bulls**t."

The UW athletic department is becoming the Al Davis of college sports over all this alleged trademark infringement. I could see if their attitude was "hey, the Wisconsin taxpayers paid to make this logo for us and we think it kind of sucks that you don't want to do something original." But the idea is that one of the largest publicly funded universities in the US is being harmed by a small liberal arts college in Kansas is (at best) laughable and (at worst) delusional. Most of all, it embarasses my homestate in the process.

(although I've been known to say things like "I don't live in Wisconsin, I live in Milwaukee" after a few drinks... happy Mockba? :D)

Hey, if Bucky is so concerned about preotecting its image, why not sue the other 12 schools that call themselves the "University of Wisconsin" and force them to change? I know they're all part of the UW system, but judging by how much of the overall budget UW-Madison takes, they clearly think they're the only "true" UW.

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Is Wisconsin on a mission to go after every school that uses a W that looks anything close to the motion W. I have a buddy that is the head women's volleyball coach at Washburn and I can't wait to hear what he has to say about this. It will be interestin if he has to destroy all of his uniforms.

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The lawsuit accuses Washburn of ?willfully, intentionally and maliciously? using the Motion W logo to deceive consumers and cause confusion.

This is what we in the business call "the bulls**t."

[sarcasm]

Man, you gotta be kidding me. I really thought that blue W logo, sold in Topeka, was for the Wisconsin Badgers. Now you are telling me it's for some Topeka school.

No f-ing way!

It's easy to confuse the two, I mean Wisconsin is known for their navy uniforms.

[/sarcasm]

This whole thing is stupid, I hope it gets dismissed.

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They changed it what, 10%? Doesn't work that way. Still looks an awful lot like the Motion W - if you don't have them side-by-side to compare, you could mistake the current logo for the old.

And, while I hate the Motion W with a burning passion, the UW is not only justified in this, they are required to do it under law. If they don't go after infringements, then they lose the legal right to defend their intellectual property.

While I too am tired of these suits, we all ought to vent our anger where it belongs - the thieves. This one isn't some cowtown high school that wasn't aware of the law.

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While I too am tired of these suits, we all ought to vent our anger where it belongs - the thieves. This one isn't some cowtown high school that wasn't aware of the law.

Well, I must say, you have a point there.

Needless to say, I don't think it will amount to much in the end.Wisconsin will end up wasting more money on this than they will possibly win.

Washburn isn't THAT big of a school.

I'm surrpised you didn't say it's a Cowtown College. ^_^

I support Washburn Athletics, so maybe I am a bit biased on my opinion. That's why I posted here for discussion.

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I'm biased, too. Against that stupid Motion W.

But the law is the law, ethics are ethics, and what is right is what is right. No matter what I happen to think of the intellectual property at hand, the University is morally and legally required to protect it.

And, just for what it's worth, my layman understanding is that since Washburn didn't stop using the logo and therefore forced the lawsuit, they'll be on the hook for expenses if it actually goes to court, gets dragged out and becomes really expensive. It might cost Wisconsin bad press, but Washburn could lose actual money.

Wisconsin's not interested in winning any money, only in protecting their property. And not from Washburn, but from the counterfeiters. And that's the point - if they don't prohibit Washburn from stealing their logo, they lose the legal right to prevent the counterfeiters from selling bootleg t-shirts with their logo on State Street.

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if they don't prohibit Washburn from stealing their logo, they lose the legal right to prevent the counterfeiters from selling bootleg t-shirts with their logo on State Street.

This is usually the part where I point out that UW-Madison used taxpayer money to comission the logo, so if the counterfitters are Wisconsin taxpayers...

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:D

That's like the old George Carlin line about being pulled over by a cop for drunk driving: "Hey, aren't you a public servant? Get me a glass of water!"

Even if your assertion was true, the dozen or so taxpayers you mention have not the right to defraud the other million and a half of or taxpayers who are all shareholders of the same corporation. Now, if the bootleggers want to hold a vote, and get the proxies of, say, 650,000 taxpayers, then they could establish the right to do as they wish. :P

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I don't understand why Wisconsin doesn't take the K-State route and simply charge every high-school/small college a fee($1) to use the motion W. Kansas State seems to understand that other teams(that they do not compete against) that wear their logo are actually advertising for Kansas State. By charging these schools a small fee, the trademark is protected.

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I don't understand why Wisconsin doesn't take the K-State route and simply charge every high-school/small college a fee($1) to use the motion W. Kansas State seems to understand that other teams(that they do not compete against) that wear their logo are actually advertising for Kansas State. By charging these schools a small fee, the trademark is protected.

If Wisconsin sees the Motion W as unique to UW-Madison only, then why water down the strength of the identity? Washburn has money and should have hired someone to create an identity for them.

On a board that promotes budding artists and frowns on fantasy team owners stealing logos, I'm really shocked anyone defends Washburn on this. They clearly stole the logo. After being warned, they should have developed a logo on their own that was distinctly different. They didn't, and now they're going to pay for it. Wisconsin is not the bad guy here.

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I don't understand why Wisconsin doesn't take the K-State route and simply charge every high-school/small college a fee($1) to use the motion W. Kansas State seems to understand that other teams(that they do not compete against) that wear their logo are actually advertising for Kansas State. By charging these schools a small fee, the trademark is protected.

If Wisconsin sees the Motion W as unique to UW-Madison only, then why water down the strength of the identity? Washburn has money and should have hired someone to create an identity for them.

On a board that promotes budding artists and frowns on fantasy team owners stealing logos, I'm really shocked anyone defends Washburn on this. They clearly stole the logo. After being warned, they should have developed a logo on their own that was distinctly different. They didn't, and now they're going to pay for it. Wisconsin is not the bad guy here.

I do not agree with Washburn's desire to use Wisconsin's logo. I am all for original designs, but I do not understand why Wisconsin is so hard on them. If I was Wisconsin, and another school wanted to use my logo, and admit it was Wisconsin's, I would not be opposed. The other issue is that this is a letter in the alphabet, although Washburn's redesigned W is very similar to Wisconsin's motion W, I still think of it as the letter W, and not Wisconsin's logo.

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Yeah, we go around and around on that design every time the Badgers come up in a thread. I love it, most think it too plain.

I am all for original designs, but I do not understand why Wisconsin is so hard on them.

Two reasons:

  1. They are legally required to crack down on bootleggers, be they t-shirt sellers or other universities.
  2. Why shouldn't they be? Are you in the habit of letting people take things you paid for?

The other issue is that this is a letter in the alphabet, although Washburn's redesigned W is very similar to Wisconsin's motion W, I still think of it as the letter W, and not Wisconsin's logo.

Well, by that logic, 90% of major league teams can't protect their cap logos.

The question here is the expression of that letter. Wisconsin paid someone to design an expression of that letter that was uniquely theirs. Something that people all around the country would see and know it meant "Wisconsin," never confusing it with anything else. Now another school comes along, and people in that area look at the logo that Wisconsin paid for and think "Washburn." What does that do for Wisconsin's investment?

I too am stunned that anyone here would do anything but vigorously back Wisconsin's rights to defend their intellectual property.

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Yeah, we go around and around on that design every time the Badgers come up in a thread. I love it, most think it too plain.

I am all for original designs, but I do not understand why Wisconsin is so hard on them.

Two reasons:

  1. They are legally required to crack down on bootleggers, be they t-shirt sellers or other universities.
  2. Why shouldn't they be? Are you in the habit of letting people take things you paid for?

The other issue is that this is a letter in the alphabet, although Washburn's redesigned W is very similar to Wisconsin's motion W, I still think of it as the letter W, and not Wisconsin's logo.

Well, by that logic, 90% of major league teams can't protect their cap logos.

The question here is the expression of that letter. Wisconsin paid someone to design an expression of that letter that was uniquely theirs. Something that people all around the country would see and know it meant "Wisconsin," never confusing it with anything else. Now another school comes along, and people in that area look at the logo that Wisconsin paid for and think "Washburn." What does that do for Wisconsin's investment?

I too am stunned that anyone here would do anything but vigorously back Wisconsin's rights to defend their intellectual property.

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