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Should prep teams be able to use college/pro logos?

By Joshua Brand, 06/03/15, 9:15AM CDT

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Brand reputation and merchandise dollars are on the line for universities and pro teams

A question I continue to ask myself is how can youth and high school level sports simply take another team's logo?

This practice may seem harmless, but to universities and pro teams, merchandise dollars and brand reputation are on the line.

 


My 1996 Little League team. That's me on the lower left.

As a kid, I remember loving the fact we got to be pro teams. One of my favorite teams was the Montreal Expos for the simple fact we got to be them for one year. I would wear that jersey everywhere.

So it seems at the youth level to be quite innocent. It's not like Golden Valley Little League was making any money off those Expos jerseys. It was just for the love of the sport.

The real debate starts at the high school level, where making money off another team's brand is at stake.

High schools have for years copied the logos of big-time universities and professional teams, or turned to them for inspiration. But as those insignias have become more valuable through licensing for merchandise and apparel - deals that can be worth millions to a university - many campuses have become more vigilant in protecting them.
Source: Copycat logos are pitting high schools and colleges in a trademark turf war

This news can be crippling for some high schools. Where do you get the money to rebrand?

Take Glades Day for example. The school was approached by the University of Florida to change its logo. It would cost them about $60,000 to replace the Florida Gators logo on uniforms, walls, gym floors and websites.

Glades Day chose to comply with the university's request rather than fight it in court.

The problem when you’re a defendant is you can spend the money to fight it, and if you lose, you also have to spend the money to change everything, said Dineen Wasylik, a trademark lawyer based in Tampa, Fla.
Source: Colleges Tell High Schools Logos Are Off Limits

Is this really something large universities and pro teams should be worried about? Or, is it a harmless ode to big league dreams?


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