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The Vulnerable College Brand: New Challenges in Protecting Your Trademarks and Identity

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


Brand protections for colleges and universities have traditionally focused on keeping others from putting the college’s name on educational services (e.g., “College X Tutoring”), promotional goods (e.g., College X sweatshirts and mugs), and neighborhood establishments (e.g., the “College X Convenience Store”) without the college’s authorization.  Protecting against these threats remains important today.   But challenges to the college’s trademarks and identity are now also coming from new directions – for example, “on demand” merchandisers who set up online “College X  Elephants Apparel Stores” that consumers will quickly encounter in any “College X” merchandise searches and will assume are “official” College X stores.  Social media has also led to new avenues of unauthorized use of colleges’ names and logos that may be specifically targeted to your students, parents, and alumni (e.g., “College X Party Night” or “College X Financial Services”).  


This session will address both the traditional and the new threats, ways to protect against them, and legal means for addressing such unauthorized uses.  The session will include an update on Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) v. Prep Sportswear, now pending in the federal court of appeals in Atlanta, a bellwether case on whether and when unauthorized on-line “College X Apparel Stores” infringe the college’s trademarks. In-house counsel are encouraged to invite their marketing and communications directors to attend the session as well, as they are often on the front lines of protecting and detecting issues related to college brands.

Registration Categories:
BBA Member – Free. Included as part of your membership.
Non-Member - $100.00

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):




Stiv Mucollari


BBA Event Calendar