Tuesday, December 4, 2007

University of Wisconsin sues over W

Not from The Onion:

For the first time, UW-Madison is taking another school to court over its prized Motion W logo.

On Friday, the university filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Washburn University, a small liberal arts and professional education school in Topeka, Kan. The move is unprecedented, even as the university has aggressively defended the logo used by UW-Madison athletic teams since 1990.

"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 accuses Washburn of "willfully, intentionally and maliciously" using the Motion W logo "to cause and enhance confusion. . . ."

UW-Madison's logo, the lawsuit states, is used on dozens of licensed products, such as clothing, glassware and souvenirs. Washburn's W is used the same way. That's a problem, the lawsuit states, in that purchasers seeing Washburn's unlicensed products and "perceiving a defect, lack of quality or any impropriety are likely to mistakenly attribute them to Wisconsin," causing irreparable harm "to Wisconsin's goodwill."
You can see the logos here and here. One is red and pixelated, with a curved baseline and a shadow. The other is blue, with a straight baseline and a white outline. Both tilt optimistically upward. And yes, they're both Ws. Are you confused yet?
U-W Madison sues over logo (Wisconsin State Journal)

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