By Matt Norlander
One of these things looks just like the other?
Nine years after the Southern Miss logo became official, folks affiliated with the University of Iowa still aren't too fond of the Golden Eagle. That Golden Eagle which looks so menacing and concerned over the perpetual mediocre state of Conference USA, where it resides. (That's Southern Miss on the left and Iowa on the right, in case you need the clarification.)
In 2004 there was a push to make USM change its logo, but that didn't pan out.
But Iowa recently brought the issue to officials again, thanks to a trademark attempt on behalf of Southern Miss. That attempt failed, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office thought the two bird brains looked too much alike. Now USM is in a bit of a scramble. Could Southern Miss be forced to change its logo in the near-future? Think about how much money would have to go into that -- changing uniforms, fields, courts. New shirts, pants, hats, etc.
Jason Bush, an attorney with Baker Donelson in Jackson, said USM could appeal the decision, which was made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.This comes down to money. Schools want to sell gear. Similar logos blend brands. Iowa is a much bigger brand than Southern Miss. Here's what one of the judges, David Bucher, told the Des-Moines Register:
“In the alternative,” wrote Bush in an email, “USM has the option of presenting additional evidence or raising additional claims in the United States District Court in any district venue that is proper.”
Giannini and other USM officials have long argued that the logos bare little resemblance.
USM unveiled its new Golden Eagle logo in January 2003 in an overhaul of the athletic department’s brand — and it quickly became part of the school’s athletic identity.
What do you think? Are they similar enough? I really don't think so. But now I'm rooting for these two to somehow line up in a 7-10 NCAA tournament game next March.
“Specifically, (USM) argues that each of the Iowa Hawkeyes marks is a collection of four separate silhouette shapes put together in close proximity creating a two dimensional image that is then displayed against backgrounds of changing colors. (USM) suggests that each Iowa Hawkeyes mark has the simplicity of a stenciled or stamped image. By contrast, Southern Miss argues that its new eagle head is more complex, having the “fierce eyed gaze of independence” and the “black peak of the beak” to create a “symbol of courage and power, reminiscent of Roman soldiers … going into battle [with] a crimson banner with a golden eagle emblazoned on the banner.”
Bucher wrote that he found fault in USM’s argument:
“The overall similarity in appearance of the marks on the goods, particularly in light of the use of identical color schemes, creates virtually identical commercial impressions.”