Monday, April 1, 2013

A trademark dispute in Cornhusker country.

This is not an unusual situation with businesses in college towns, especially when a college mascot is named after the official state nickname (e.g., "The Hawkeye State"). The article describes a dispute between the University of Nebraska athletic department and a local Lincoln business owner. The business owner used the word "Husker" in his bar name, and the University does not want to be associated with it. As you would expect, the University has trademarks on the terms associated with the school's athletic programs. When it does attach its name to a local business, it charges a fee to do so.

The article is another example of the headaches that result from choosing a business name that is a federally registered trademark of another company. When you go to college towns, you will often see "Husker," "Cyclone," "Hawkeye," or another nickname on a business unrelated with the local school. The nickname you see depends on the town you are visiting. Business owners that choose such names should be careful, because the school can make them change it if they want. The school does not always do so, because they do not want to upset the same people who support the sports programs. But they can.

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