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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What great timing :) An interesting trademark topic to "discuss".


By Kim Fulscher of The Gainsville Sun
gainsville.com said:
T-shirt companies know not to put the Gator logo on their merchandise without permission. But now, university color schemes like University of Florida's orange and blue can be protected under a new ruling.
Read the full article here.


It looks like a court has ruled that a college "colors" can be trademarked and protected as part of its "brand" what would require permission before use.

Your thoughts?
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

Actually, in a sense its nothing new.

Alot of brands even have their design's colors custom made, for that purpose. So that a certain " RED " is such and such Brand's red. :)

... i guess they saw this was coming.
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

This isn't really just about the colors.

From the article:

"With Smack [the t-shirt company], it's not just an orange and blue T-shirt," she said. "It's combined with colors and images, and then their intention becomes clear."

It's obvious that the basis of the lawsuit is not just the colors but the theme of the designs they are using as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

To break it down even further:

and then their intention becomes clear
It almost seems like "intent" can be a big determining factor as to the validity of a trademark infringement case.

If it was a company with orange and blue colors in their t-shirts with cute cat designs, there probably wouldn't have been an issue.
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

Black & Decker protects their colors.

After reading I hope this gets appealed. This is a very wide rule.
As I read it if I print in orange "Joes Lumber Yard" on a blue shirt,
I get get sued by CLC/University of Florida for infringement.
Not good.

"the new ruling outlines that the simple use of a college's colors on items, even when the name of the institution is not displayed, violates a trademark"
"But UF officials do not currently have plans to license orange and blue"

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

As I read it if I print in orange "Joes Lumber Yard" on a blue shirt,
I get get sued by CLC/University of Florida for infringement.
Not good.
I don't think that's the case at all when looking at the quote Jasonda mentioned above. It's not just the "colors". It's the intent.

Joe's Lumber Yard is obviously not trying to make money off of the university of florida "brand", whereas a site selling products that specifically have to do with the college and are specifically for that colleges fans, is definitely trying to be associated with that brand, but do it within the laws as they saw it.

They were working that "fine line" (which is why it's good they had a lawyer handy to help them fight their case).
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

Where's Ross B when you need him?!

I'm sure he'll love to get in on this one. A chance to write a book if he wants!

I'll jump in once I have the chance to read the article.
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

Rodney said:
I don't think that's the case at all when looking at the quote Jasonda mentioned above. It's not just the "colors". It's the intent.

Joe's Lumber Yard is obviously not trying to make money off of the university of florida "brand", whereas a site selling products that specifically have to do with the college and are specifically for that colleges fans, is definitely trying to be associated with that brand, but do it within the laws as they saw it.

They were working that "fine line" (which is why it's good they had a lawyer handy to help them fight their case).
What if Joe's Lumber Yard were in Gainesville and trying to draw Gator fans to the lumber yard using Gator colors?

That's where it gets murky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

trying to draw Gator fans to the lumber yard using Gator colors?
I think that leans towards the "intent" of the trademark case, but I still think it would be far enough away that it's not an issue for the CLC.

It's not like Joes Lumber Yard would be selling competing products for gator fans.
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

Another example of this is a company that I know of that has either patented or trademarked the color of their fleet of vehicles.

In their line of business they are recognized by the color of their fleet of vehicles as well as their name/logo.

Their cars are manufactured by Ford and painted a specific color that nobody else in the industry is allowed to use..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

painted a specific color that nobody else in the industry is allowed to use
I think that differs a bit from this case in the fact that the Smack t-shirt company wasn't using specific colors. I'm fairly certain they just used a standard orange t-shirt from a major brand (like Gildan or AAA or something).
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark tal

Rodney said:
I think that differs a bit from this case in the fact that the Smack t-shirt company wasn't using specific colors. I'm fairly certain they just used a standard orange t-shirt from a major brand (like Gildan or AAA or something).
Yeah, I think there is a big difference between trademarking SPECIFIC colors, like "Orange #38439 and Blue #43533" rather than just trademarking "Orange + Blue". I don't think you could just trademark "Orange + Blue" because there are hundreds of different shades of each of those colors.
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark talk

I agree Jasonda. However, I do design for some of the big schools on the east coast and I've noticed that although each school has specific pantone colors, different printers produce different versions of that color. Sometimes a mix can be different. Underbasing the color can throw it off, or printing on a certain shirt color. Plus, fans don't even know what their school's color really is most of the time. At the local university many people confuse the school's gold for yellow.
But I do agree, it would be baloney to trademark a color combination.
This lawsuit's a little scary though. Fine legal lines...
 

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Re: Court Ruling Tells T-Shirt Companies: Hands of the Orange and Blue: trademark tal

PrintMonkey said:
After reading I hope this gets appealed. This is a very wide rule.
I'd agree that if the ruling is as wide as the article implies it could be a problem, but I'd guess that either 1) The article is badly written, or 2) The ruling didn't have enough thought put into it, and would be more clearly defined on appeal.

The article is meant to stir up controversy at the latest intrusive court ruling (that headline is nothing short of blatant manipulation), but I doubt the ruling is actually going to have that much of an affect on people who weren't already treading a very thin line.

Smack were clearly trading in the grey area. I guess by the time these lawsuits are through the area will be a little less grey.
 
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