College IP

Many of us relish supporting our alma maters by donating money, wearing college-themed clothes, attending games and alumni events, or following the latest news in alumni magazines and the local news. Like many alumni, I enjoyed attending K-State football games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and KU basketball at Allen Field House as a student, as a graduate I’m a member of the alumni associations, and I enjoy cheering the flagship teams of both my alma maters on to “another Wildcat victory” (K-State) and deep into the NCAA tournament during March Madness (KU). I fondly remember the 2008 National Championship at KU, including the famed “Mario’s Miracle” shot that clenched KU’s 5th national title. And what Wildcat can forget the quiet, unassuming family man and old school guy named Bill Snyder who made the nation stand up, taking what ESPN had proclaimed the most worst team in the country and transformed K-State football into a national powerhouse and brought a legacy of character and competitive DNA and success on campus.

But joyous though collegiate sports can be for fans, licensing and intellectual property management of college logos and trademarks can quickly descend into the fierce trench combat of IP litigation. A couple years ago, KU won a big trademark infringement trial against a Lawrence t-shirt shop that was using a likeness of the school’s “Kansas” logo without KU’s consent or paying the necessary licensing fee. Now comes news that the University of Alabama is aggressively defending its trademarks and related IP portfolio. How far is too far in enforcing a college’s (or a company’s) IP portfolio? Thoughts?

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your copyright or trademark needs, call (913-707-9220) or email me ( for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs. We love ideas and the creative arts as much as you do and know how to efficiently and economically protect your creative expression.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

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