By STEPHANIE SUN
On Monday October 20th, University High School (UHS) received a Cease and Desist order from the University of Miami regarding the “U” logo. A Cease and Desist letter “ceases” or stops an action that violates the law –in this case, the use of the University of Miami’s trademarked “U”– and “desists” or calls for said action to never to happen again. Effective immediately, UHS will no longer be allowed to use the logo. Despite common belief, Uni does not have to remove or replace any merchandise that already exists with the logo, including the floorboards on the Gym or signs around the school. Any new merchandise, however, that is sold from the school will need to make changes according to the order.
For a business or organization to have the ability to order a Cease and Desist of another party for its mark or logo, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the trademarks must have a “likelihood of confusion.” If the marks of the parties look similar, sound alike, create a similar meaning, or give a similar overall impression, only the party with the trademark can give such an order. Many students have stated that the only difference they see between the two logos is the color, and these observations would support the point that the two logos look alike enough for the University of Miami to give the order. Another case for “likelihood of confusion” is if the services of the parties are related in such a way that people are likely to assume that they are from the same source. Because UHS and the University of Miami are both schools, people are likely to confuse them.
UHS has faced similar problems with trademarks before, but none have impacted the school with such degree. The Junior Classical League (JCL) received a Cease and Desist letter a few years ago when the club’s shirt featured Disney’s cartoon version of the three headed guardian of the Underworld, Cerberus. A student wore the shirt while walking near a Disney store at the South Coast Plaza and was confronted by an employee. A few days later, JCL received the letter, ordering an end to the use of trademarked characters.
As of right now, UHS Administration is still working with lawyers from the University of Miami to find a solution to the problem. UHS now must create a new logo. A segment featured on Univision, the UHS broadcast, announced a competition between students to design the new logo. Ms. Kramer (Art Department) stated that, “the winning logo needs to be a logo that works well when scaled large and small. Items ranging from pencils to t-shirts to large banners all must display the logo in a way that is clear… it must be simple, clean and adaptable for a variety of uses.” This contest will allow students to show their creativity by designing something very special to the school that will possibly be used for many years. Uni clubs, sport teams, websites and newsletters will also need the logo to be adaptable and appropriate for their different applications of it.