Jump to content

Florida Gators go after two high schools; NFL sits out?


CubsFanBudMan

Recommended Posts

I thought we had a fairly fresh mega-thread on this topic, but I went six pages deep and didn't see it, and wasn't exactly sure what term from that was searchable, so...

Gators, other colleges clamp down on high schools using logos

Two South Florida high schools are among a growing number of programs nationwide left scrambling as colleges across the country begin cracking down on unlicensed use of their logos.

"My first reaction when the letter came to me was shock and disbelief," said Dr. Robert Egley, the Head of School at Glades Day. "This area of western Palm Beach is full of UF alumni. We love the Gator Nation. It breaks our heart because we always felt imitation is the best form of flattery, but when I started researching it, I realized they have a legal obligation to do this and legally, they've got us over a barrel.

Here's a photo of Palm Beach Gardens, which looks identical (the other school uses the Gator logo in green and gold):

56738792.jpg

I won't post the whole article, but one thing stood out:

One entity that seemingly doesn't mind when high schools ? particularly football teams ? borrow logos is the NFL.

"From an NFL standpoint, hundreds of high school and youth programs use NFL nicknames or team logos and we think that's great," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We support football wherever it's played. We do vigorously protect the trademarks of our teams, but when it comes to a youth team or a high school using a name or logo of a particular NFL team, that's not an issue with us."

Have we heard this before? It would seem that if the earlier statements are true about protecting trademarks, then why would it "not be an issue" with the NFL, let alone "great"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The NFL is a huge supporter of youth football, and many of the uniform vendors have NFL logos to use. One town near me just outfitted its Pop Warner teams head to toe in Titans uniforms, with everything sewn on, including name plates, the exception being the "Titans" wordmark replaced with the town or town's nickname. They use Gamewear as the supplier (same as the UFL), and even have a giant inflatable Titans helmet to run through at the start of the games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I won't post the whole article, but one thing stood out:
One entity that seemingly doesn't mind when high schools ? particularly football teams ? borrow logos is the NFL.

"From an NFL standpoint, hundreds of high school and youth programs use NFL nicknames or team logos and we think that's great," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We support football wherever it's played. We do vigorously protect the trademarks of our teams, but when it comes to a youth team or a high school using a name or logo of a particular NFL team, that's not an issue with us."

Have we heard this before? It would seem that if the earlier statements are true about protecting trademarks, then why would it "not be an issue" with the NFL, let alone "great"?

It is definitely an issue--legally, if the NFL knows about the use of their trademarks and don't do anything about it, they will lose their rights to the trademark. The difference is that the NFL apparently takes a different approach when they find infringement--the NFL probably makes the infringing high school take a license, but with low royalties.

Usually, when you see litigation, that means that the two parties couldn't agree to a price on settlement, so NCAA teams must be asking too much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I won't post the whole article, but one thing stood out:
One entity that seemingly doesn't mind when high schools ? particularly football teams ? borrow logos is the NFL.

"From an NFL standpoint, hundreds of high school and youth programs use NFL nicknames or team logos and we think that's great," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We support football wherever it's played. We do vigorously protect the trademarks of our teams, but when it comes to a youth team or a high school using a name or logo of a particular NFL team, that's not an issue with us."

Have we heard this before? It would seem that if the earlier statements are true about protecting trademarks, then why would it "not be an issue" with the NFL, let alone "great"?

It is definitely an issue--legally, if the NFL knows about the use of their trademarks and don't do anything about it, they will lose their rights to the trademark. The difference is that the NFL apparently takes a different approach when they find infringement--the NFL probably makes the infringing high school take a license, but with low royalties.

Usually, when you see litigation, that means that the two parties couldn't agree to a price on settlement, so NCAA teams must be asking too much.

If the high schools aren't selling merchandise with the logos what is the harm?..don't the universities have to demonstrate some sort of monetary loss for there to be a case?..I just don't see how an individual mistaking a high school football team for a ncaa d1 program so misrepresentation seems very unlikely

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I won't post the whole article, but one thing stood out:
One entity that seemingly doesn't mind when high schools ? particularly football teams ? borrow logos is the NFL.

"From an NFL standpoint, hundreds of high school and youth programs use NFL nicknames or team logos and we think that's great," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "We support football wherever it's played. We do vigorously protect the trademarks of our teams, but when it comes to a youth team or a high school using a name or logo of a particular NFL team, that's not an issue with us."

Have we heard this before? It would seem that if the earlier statements are true about protecting trademarks, then why would it "not be an issue" with the NFL, let alone "great"?

It is definitely an issue--legally, if the NFL knows about the use of their trademarks and don't do anything about it, they will lose their rights to the trademark. The difference is that the NFL apparently takes a different approach when they find infringement--the NFL probably makes the infringing high school take a license, but with low royalties.

Usually, when you see litigation, that means that the two parties couldn't agree to a price on settlement, so NCAA teams must be asking too much.

If the high schools aren't selling merchandise with the logos what is the harm?..don't the universities have to demonstrate some sort of monetary loss for there to be a case?..I just don't see how an individual mistaking a high school football team for a ncaa d1 program so misrepresentation seems very unlikely

You couldn't be missing the point more.

As for the NFL, would their statement count as a sort of "blanket license"? Not sure if that's even a legal thing or not, but by openly saying that youth teams can use their marks, they're still demonstrating control over them and maybe that's enough for them to keept them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's what I was saying. That quote -- without any reference to a license -- seems out of context at best or poorly worded at worst. I'd think the NFL would do more than just say "we think that's great." Like mentioning the fact that they provide unis and props to a lot of those youth leagues, which I'm sure is the case -- don't they feature them in commercials from time to time?

But I think high schools get into a shadier area, especially when so many do profit off their own merchandise. Those youth leagues use actual NFL logos and colors, so support of those teams probably leads to Titans merch sales in places it normally wouldn't. But I can't see an unlicensed green-and-gold Titans logo being used at a high school and sold for profit as being "great" or "not an issue" for the NFL. Seemed like a surprisingly blanket statement for the NFL.

In fact, as I typed that I remembered seeing a youth (or maybe high school) team attend a Northwestern football game earlier in the year. Some had team jerseys that I don't think had logos on them, but some were wearing brown and tan sweatshirts with Philadelphia's eagle head logo paired with the Blue Jays current J. It was a strange sight, but I can't imagine they paid MLB and NFL licenses for those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always find this interesting about schools using logos. For example I cna think of several schools in my area that used NFL or NCAA logos.

Falcons Logo

My high school had the SMU mustang logo.

Seminoles helmet.

Bulldogs/Grambling/Packers logo.

Duke logo.

Miami Hurricanes U.

I've always noticed, but never thought much of it. I figured there was something in aqreement since they were high schools or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's letting other people use your trademarks. You have to legally protect your rights to the trademark.

FWIW, I think all high schools should be able to come up with their own logos anyways. Student-designed logos > Stolen logos.

By allowing people to use their trademark, they are also protecting it. Fair-use of the logo protects their logo from any possession/control issues they may have in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is definitely an issue--legally, if the NFL knows about the use of their trademarks and don't do anything about it, they will lose their rights to the trademark. The difference is that the NFL apparently takes a different approach when they find infringement--the NFL probably makes the infringing high school take a license, but with low royalties.

Usually, when you see litigation, that means that the two parties couldn't agree to a price on settlement, so NCAA teams must be asking too much.

If the high schools aren't selling merchandise with the logos what is the harm?..don't the universities have to demonstrate some sort of monetary loss for there to be a case?..I just don't see how an individual mistaking a high school football team for a ncaa d1 program so misrepresentation seems very unlikely

If someone uses your trademark, and you don't either (1) stop them from using it or (2) agree to license it to them, then you could potentially lose your rights to the mark. To get monetary damages, the universities would have to show harm, but damages aren't the only remedy available. An injunction would also be an acceptable outcome for the university.

It's letting other people use your trademarks. You have to legally protect your rights to the trademark.

FWIW, I think all high schools should be able to come up with their own logos anyways. Student-designed logos > Stolen logos.

By allowing people to use their trademark, they are also protecting it. Fair-use of the logo protects their logo from any possession/control issues they may have in the future.

Just a point of order, but fair use wouldn't apply in this case because the high schools use of the mark is not protected under the First Amendment. The exemplary trademark fair use case is using someone else mark in comparative advertising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The NFL is a huge supporter of youth football, and many of the uniform vendors have NFL logos to use. One town near me just outfitted its Pop Warner teams head to toe in Titans uniforms, with everything sewn on, including name plates, the exception being the "Titans" wordmark replaced with the town or town's nickname. They use Gamewear as the supplier (same as the UFL), and even have a giant inflatable Titans helmet to run through at the start of the games.

NCAA does the same thing. That's not the issue here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I were an AD or president of a major football university I would be all for it. It may sway a major recruit or two. You never know, That player might have a superstition with that spearhead or gator script. Seems like it would hurt the university to make the high school desist the logo. I am sure a negative image of the university would ensue. It would for me.

P.S. I would go after a private school if they used my university's logo. A public school could use it all day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

#1 The statement that if high schools don't sell anything with the logo, then it's okay... um, did you go to high school? Have you seen sweatshirts, t-shirts, stickers, etc with logos on them?

#2 Fair use - Is used when talking about non-profit. The minute you charge money, fair use is out the door. The only other thing you can do with fair use, is to make a parody of an image or likeness. Being that high schools make profits off of logos, fair use is out the door.

#3 The NFL's stance on the use of logos, if they think it's fine, then it is. I know Mingjai's statement about protecting their identity, which I agree with, but if they are okay with high school and local youth leagues using their logos then they are protecting their image by encouraging youth teams to use it. It's a touchy subject and every year we see the NFL crack down on Super Bowl merchandise that they don' It's part of their marketing plan, flood the market by allowing youth teams to use logos and uniforms that look like the teams and they are building future NFL fans. t license, but I think that's the one thing they will protect harshly. They are building brand awareness by allowing youth teams to use their logos and can afford to lose a little money for the money made up for from life time fans. It's actually brilliant marketing. You lose a little up front to gain a life-long fan who will purchase hundreds if not thousands of dollars of merchandise over the years.

#4 Why do colleges go after high schools teams? Simple. Money. I know what you're thinking, "Why doesn't the NFL go after them then?" Simple, the NFL is big business and they are making tons of money. Most colleges are not making money and as a matter of fact are losing money and I'm talking top BCS teams. I've heard time and time again that about 6 BCS teams actually turn a profit. So if you're allowing your logo to be used without receiving money for it, then you are further losing money. The NFL can afford to lose some money. Think about what a crappy football player makes. Probably every NFL team turns a profit, and their funds are increasing every year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Florida State went after Bradenton (FL) Southeast High a little while back, who use a very similar Seminole head logo and are named the "Seminoles". After a bad backlash, particularly from Southeast grad Peter Warrick, who said something along the lines that he will ALWAYS be Southeast Seminole first, I believe FSU backed off a bit. I don't believe they had a problem with the Spear logo that Southeast also used on its helmets. So many HS programs use the spear, I guess FSU just doesn't care much about that.

And no one is ever going to take kindly to these huge universities doing this type of thing to high schools. Regardless of the legality, it makes the colleges look like bullies. The general public will never agree with the colleges on this issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And no one is ever going to take kindly to these huge universities doing this type of thing to high schools. Regardless of the legality, it makes the colleges look like bullies. The general public will never agree with the colleges on this issue.

Trust me, FSU isn't worried about what you or anyone else thinks. It is their obligation to protect their marks and they have a right to do it however they see fit. If Southeast went and used FSU's logo inappropriately, there is a strong likelihood that someone might be confused into thinking that the logo was misused by FSU. I don't blame them for wanting to nip the issue in the bud. It's their right to do it.

I presented this example in one of the other 80 threads on this issue. If someone had used the mcDonalds golden arches on their helmet, people would have no problem with them going after that school for trademark infringement. This scenario is no different. Just because the logo they are ripping off is another sports logo doesn't just make the situation magically all better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

#4 Why do colleges go after high schools teams? Simple. Money. I know what you're thinking, "Why doesn't the NFL go after them then?" Simple, the NFL is big business and they are making tons of money. Most colleges are not making money and as a matter of fact are losing money and I'm talking top BCS teams. I've heard time and time again that about 6 BCS teams actually turn a profit. So if you're allowing your logo to be used without receiving money for it, then you are further losing money. The NFL can afford to lose some money. Think about what a crappy football player makes. Probably every NFL team turns a profit, and their funds are increasing every year.

Do you have facts to back up anything you've said here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Florida State went after Bradenton (FL) Southeast High a little while back, who use a very similar Seminole head logo and are named the "Seminoles". After a bad backlash, particularly from Southeast grad Peter Warrick, who said something along the lines that he will ALWAYS be Southeast Seminole first, I believe FSU backed off a bit. I don't believe they had a problem with the Spear logo that Southeast also used on its helmets. So many HS programs use the spear, I guess FSU just doesn't care much about that.

And no one is ever going to take kindly to these huge universities doing this type of thing to high schools. Regardless of the legality, it makes the colleges look like bullies. The general public will never agree with the colleges on this issue.

FSU didn't go after anyone. A firm they hired to make sure they're trademarks were protected did. Florida State already had verbal deals with many schools but this company either didn't know or didn't care and slapped these high schools with lawsuits in the name of protecting FSU. FSU has since worked out monetary deals with each school. How much are they asking? A whopping $1 per year.

Trust me, FSU isn't worried about what you or anyone else thinks. It is their obligation to protect their marks and they have a right to do it however they see fit. If Southeast went and used FSU's logo inappropriately, there is a strong likelihood that someone might be confused into thinking that the logo was misused by FSU. I don't blame them for wanting to nip the issue in the bud. It's their right to do it.

I presented this example in one of the other 80 threads on this issue. If someone had used the mcDonalds golden arches on their helmet, people would have no problem with them going after that school for trademark infringement. This scenario is no different. Just because the logo they are ripping off is another sports logo doesn't just make the situation magically all better.

Trust me, FSU isn't worried about what you or anyone else thinks. You may say they should protect their logos, but they value the ties they have to schools by letting them use their logos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Allowing youth and high school teams to use NFL franchise logos is part of the league's desire to co-opt the game through the league's USA Football campaign. Those logos and uniform designs help promote the NFL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FSU didn't go after anyone. A firm they hired to make sure they're trademarks were protected did. Florida State already had verbal deals with many schools but this company either didn't know or didn't care and slapped these high schools with lawsuits in the name of protecting FSU. FSU has since worked out monetary deals with each school. How much are they asking? A whopping $1 per year.

So you think FSU had nothing to do with it? If you believe that then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
Trust me, FSU isn't worried about what you or anyone else thinks. You may say they should protect their logos, but they value the ties they have to schools by letting them use their logos.

Now you just sound like a moron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.