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High School Mascots

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by BrianKE, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. BrianKE

    BrianKE Member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    I have had a couple friends and friends of friends ask for graduation banners. They would like to include the school mascot and/or logo on the sign. Are HS logos or mascots copyrighted or trademarked such that I would need to get permission from the school to use?
  2. I found this online:
    "I sent an email to the school board - they forwarded it their lawyer - who responded and let me know that public school names are public domain as well as most of the school logos. Certain logos are copyrighted by their artists and the school(s) have free license to use them and I could send any designs to them for review if necessary.

    I also had to agree to avoid anything disparaging or of questionable taste involving the school's names and/or logos."
  3. mmblarg

    mmblarg Member

    Dec 1, 2015
    Rapid City, SD
    If there is ever question on the legalities, always best just to default to asking for permission. In our area, the school board is super lax and the individual schools are all pretty happy to see proud students displaying their logo, so no permission needed. In most cases, many of the schools come to us for various projects as well once they know we have their logos on file and have seen some of our handiwork.
  4. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

    Dec 3, 2015
    Niceville, FL
    The HIgh School in our town is very particular on the use of there mascot/logo. We're on good terms with them and rarely do we do anything using the logo that's not for the school anyway.
  5. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

    Dec 23, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    We do lots of work for local schools and the school board itself, so never had any issues. But whenever there's any doubt, always double check.
  6. papabud

    papabud Lone Wolf

    Mar 7, 2016
    Toledo, OH
    also a lot of schools dont design their own mascots. a quick google search will usually show the same one for dozens of schools
  7. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
  8. signbrad

    signbrad Member

    Jun 15, 2014
    Kansas City
    Part of this USA Today Sports story reads, "An employee at a [local] memorabilia store said:
    '(Arizona is) 2000 miles away. What do they care for a little farm community and a very small school?' ”

    Her argument is that it's okay for a school to infringe a trademark as long as they are small and made up of farmers? Is this a valid argument?
    There is a better argument that a school, large or small, should set an example in the practice of ethics. Schools are, after all, in the business of preparing young people to eventually enter the working world, including agri-business, as, presumably, law-abiding citizens.

    Most of us teach our kids to respect the property of others. Many teach their kids that it's wrong to steal something even if it's small.
    Some people might argue that using the college logo will not really hurt the University of Arizona. I heard a similar argument from a 12-year-old to justify his shoplifting. "It was just one magazine. They won't miss it."

    The small school mentioned in the news story did the right thing. They stopped the merchandising of items with the infringing mark and they agreed to change their logo.

    A trademark can be a valuable asset for a business. Universities are businesses, too. Many big schools say they are really struggling with funding cuts and with trying to keep tuitions from spiraling out of reach. And a successful college athletic program can generate lots of needed cash, not just in ticket sales, but in merchandising. I have heard that the income that the NFL receives from merchandise sales far exceeds that from ticket sales. So, protecting a trademark is all about the money. It can make the difference for financial survival. But that's what all business is about, right?

    Also, there is a reason why many businesses are very aggressive about pursuing even small infringements. It's because it gives them a stronger legal position if and when the time comes they are involved in a serious litigation later. If, on the other hand, they have developed a reputation for being lax, allowing lots of possible infringements to slide without challenging them, they could end up in a weaker position in a court battle later.

    Interestingly, there is a small school in my area that has a team logo that is an exact duplicate of an NFL football team logo. They changed nothing to the logo. As the internet continues to make the world flatter and flatter, it will be interesting to see how long it takes before the NFL notices it.
    I'm not turning them in. I'm not the trademark police. Besides, they're just little kids, right?:)

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