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Blog Entry

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:09 am
 


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.

“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.

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:

“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.”

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.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: September 4, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity




Since: Aug 6, 2009
Posted on: August 4, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

What is next?  Is Southern Miss going to start calling themselves the Hawkeyes, too?  And what is the "Miss" in Southern Miss?  Mississippi or Missouri?




Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:12 am
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

To respond to your question - the way you display the two logos above shows little similarity. However if you superimpose the Iowa logo over a black field the likeness becomes more pronounced.

The question I have is what happens if USM gets their trade mark approved? Are they then able to charge Iowa with trade mark infringement whenever it is used on a black background? The silly ways of colleges who are supposed to be dedicated to the education of their students brings negative attention on them both. Perhaps they can find some compromise that allows them both to go on using their logos. Hopefully this will end this silly story.



Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

What a foolish dispute.  Yes, they maybe some similiarities but there are clear differences.  Illinois State University claimed a high school close to my hometown had a logo similiar to theirs and the high school had to alter the logo. 



Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: August 3, 2011 8:12 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

Iowans can be some of the nastiest people on the face of the earth.



Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 7:20 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

I think there is a clear difference in the logos, I don't see what the problem is.

What team holds the trademark on the Bulldog?
What team holds the trademark on the Tiger?

Can you imagine the confusion if all the teams with tigers and bulldogs started complaining about other teams with similer trademarks?

People quit bickering over trivial stuff like this and lets play football.



Since: Oct 4, 2010
Posted on: August 3, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

Wow, I thought the folks at Iowa were far above things like this Undecided, whats next will they want Southern Miss to stop growing corn too?



Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

I am glad all these highly paid college graduates working for/with the universities and the US Patent office have such important things to do.



Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

Really?  They don't look much alike at all.  Not sure one would ever be confused with the other.



Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Iowa, Southern Miss in spat over logo similarity

Different birds, different shades of gold, one looks like an eagle, one looks like a chicken, this should be a non-issue.


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