Strange trademark case in the United States
There has been a recent strange trademark case in the United States that could likely change the entire Intellectual Property system of this country.
Sports teams each have a unique logo that made them unique, representing the spirit of the team and the university they are in.
Penn State (Penn State University) is famous for its proud Pozniak Lion attire featuring a white lion in a blue background.
However, without their consent, Vintage Brand has been selling numerous products, mainly shirts, featuring the proud Pozniak Lion on their merchandise.
It is known that Vintage Brand has also done similar actions to other famous sports teams’ logos, and brands throughout the USA.
Penn State soon after filed a trademark lawsuit against Vintage Brand.
Not just Penn State but UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Purdue, Arizona, Washington, Utah, and USC are all currently engaged in trademark litigation against the clothing company.
Details of the case
On the official website of Vintage Brand which is still active today, viewers can easily see that this is a clothing company that sells a lot of familiar logos and brands of sports teams.
From baseball to basketball, football, etc. You name it, Vintage Brand has it. However, not many at first glance will know that this site is not an officially licensed NCAA store.
They are selling clothes with brands, and logos that aren’t theirs. This obvious fact, along with the joint hands of so many organizations, people would think that this case will soon come to a close with the universities and sports teams coming out the winner.
However, it is not the case. The universities were shocked when Judge Matthew Brann — a graduate of Penn State Dickinson Law ruled in favor of Vintage Brand after Penn State requested that a claim in the company’s countersuit be dismissed.
The countersuit of Vintage Brand is that, due to the fact that the trademarks of Penn State, in regards to their logos, mascots, figures, etc. are all public domain, they would have the right to sell these merchandise. In addition, Vintage Brand even requested that the trademarks of Penn State be canceled due to the above reason.
Immediately, Penn State requested such a counterclaim to be dismissed but Judge Matthew Brann has a different view on the matter.
He denied the request of Penn State.
He went on to say that the “modern trademark regime has struggled” in dealing with trademark associations. Brann even stated that intellectual property laws have gone beyond their original intent. Furthermore, he questioned how we currently deal with the likelihood of confusion issues.
The impact of the judge’s decision
It should be noted that if these claims are upheld in court, the entire system of trademark protection in the United States may be completely overturned.
In the event that Vintage Brand prevails in its counterclaim, many of the trademark protections offered by Penn State would be removed, creating a disastrous impact on the university.
If a business could use logos and other representative symbols that belong to schools and claim that historic recognition equates to the public domain, the majority of major universities in the USA would be in serious trouble.
Nonetheless, Penn State will almost certainly appeal any adverse ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Therefore, it is too early to predict the outcome of the case at this moment.
– You could check Required documents of filing trademark in USA here.
– You could see What needs to be done after registering a trademark in US? here.
– You could visit here to see What is use in commerce of filing trademark in USA.
– You could also check here to see Procedure of Trademark in USA.
Or sending your inquiry by filling the form: