Zick Rubin and Brenda Ulrich are co-presenters of the Boston Bar Association College and University Law Section’s January program. The program is entitled “The Vulnerable College Brand: New Challenges in Protecting Your Trademarks and Identity.” Zick and Brenda will cover a wide range of intellectual property topics in connection with both traditional and new threats to the industry. This event takes place on January 8th from 12:30-1:30pm at the BBA. To register and learn more about the program, please visit the BBA website.
Brand protections for colleges and universities have traditionally focused on keeping others from putting the college’s name on educational services (e.g., “College X Tutoring”), promotional goods (e.g., College X sweatshirts and mugs), and neighborhood establishments (e.g., the “College XConvenience Store”) without the college’s authorization. Protecting against these threats remains important today. But challenges to the college’s trademarks and identity are now also coming from new directions – for example, “on demand” merchandisers who set up online “College X Elephants Apparel Stores” that consumers will quickly encounter in any “College X” merchandise searches and will assume are “official” College X stores. Social media has also led to new avenues of unauthorized use of colleges’ names and logos that may be specifically targeted to your students, parents, and alumni (e.g., “College X Party Night” or “College X Financial Services”). This session will address both the traditional and the new threats, ways to protect against them, and legal means for addressing such unauthorized uses. The session will include an update on Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) v. Prep Sportswear, now pending in the federal court of appeals in Atlanta, a bellwether case on whether and when unauthorized on-line “College X Apparel Stores” infringe the college’s trademarks.