Today my phone rang off the hook with reporters looking for an expert on intellectual property law to comment on the issues surrounding the cease and desist letter received by Bradenton Southeast High School, which has competed in high school sports under the name Seminoles for over 30 years. It seems the company that does all of the official licensing of sports memorabilia for many colleges took offense to the Bradenton Southeast Seminoles, on behalf of the much more famous FSU Seminoles.
Now, it isn’t the meanest cease and desist letter I’ve ever seen. And the law does incentivize trademark owners to police their marks or risk losing them. But seriously? It takes a much lighter touch if you are going to c&d a high school that has been using the names and logos for 30 years or more — particularly if you have recruited football players from that high school and sent Bobby Bowden on recruiting trips there. I was quoted explaining the doctrine of acquiescence in the St. Petersburg Times Seminole Watch blog, moderately explained both sides of the story to the Sarasota Herald Tribune (at page 4), and sounding a bit more feisty in the online version of the Tampa Tribune. With perhaps more to come!
Update: Two more papers picked up my quotes.