Friday, November 30, 2012

Use of FSU logo costs Ga. school district over $200,000.

It's fairly common to see high schools and youth sports programs using the same logo as college sports teams. Unfortunately, the people who decided to use those logos failed to consider that they are trademarked designs, which means the logos are off limits and can end up causing huge problems.

Most colleges won't go as far as suing for monetary compensation for trademark infringement since that would be a PR nightmare for them. But they will ask schools to stop using their logo. This was a hard and expensive lesson learned by the Rockdale (Ga.) County Board of Education, for using the Florida State Seminoles spear logo. In 2011, the already cash-strapped school district was tasked with removing and replacing everything with the logo on it from the high school and middle school, including uniforms, signage, business cards, branded apparel and even having to rip out the gym floors with the infringing logo on them from both schools. All of this at a projected cost of well over $200,000.

It will probably remain unknown if the decision makers really had no idea that you can't use trademarked logos or if they just thought they would never get caught. Ultimately, the school district would have been far better off by purchasing a logo, which would have only cost a tiny fraction of the $200,000 they ended up having to spend because they used a copyrighted design.

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