KSU trademark policy similar to other schools

Lisa Moore

“Kent State University, Kent State and KSU are registered trademarks and may not be used without permission.”

This statement appears at the bottom of the university’s Web site. Trademarking is not unique to just Kent State. It is a common practice among most Division I schools, said Jim Watson, Associate University Counsel.

The trademarking trend among Division I schools started in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

“A Division I school won the NCAA Final Four in basketball,” Watson said.

That particular school did not have a method at the time in place to control the use of its name and ended up losing about a million dollars in goods sold, Watson said.

This event sent out a wake up call to all universities “that there could be a lot of money lost if we didn’t (trademark),” he said.

Kent State currently generates about $100,000 a year in royalties, Watson said.

A short term loan fund, which the royalities used to go into, helped students who found themselves in emergency situations.

Since the loan fund became fully funded about two or three years ago, the royalties now go to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Operating Fund.

The athletic logo brings in a majority of the revenue, Watson said.

Whether or not the trademark can be used to block the use of Kent State’s name in a book, movie or play about May 4 is a matter of how it is used.

“Simply using the name to describe the event is not only free speech, but fair use in Trademark Law,” said Jay Dratler Jr., The Goodyear Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Akron.

The Kent State Administration can stop the use of the name if it is used in a way that sounds or looks as if Kent State is publishing the book, Dratler said. If the official university colors are used, that would be an example of trademark infringement.

More information about the licensing of certain identifying marks of the university can be found at the University Counsels main page, www.kent.edu/universitycounsel.

Contact news correspondent Lisa Moore at [email protected]