Trademarks once again prove the great unifier
between chicken and athletics. Last August, it brought together Bo Jackson and Chick-fil-A. Now, football powerhouse Ohio
State University has its trademark sights set on poultry manufacturer, Park Farms.
Yesterday, Ohio State filed a trademark complaint accusing Park Farms of the unlicensed use of the O-H-I-O cheer. Ohio State claims common law trademarks in
the distinctive use of its school colors, scarlet and gray, the capital letter "O" in block text in conjunction with the school
colors, and the cheer O-H-I-O. The complaint states:
The "O-H-I-O" cheer is associated exclusively in the minds of
the public with Ohio State, a trademark of The Ohio State University. Ohio
State's official website includes a page devoted to the "O-H-I-O"
includes more than 9800 photographs submitted by Ohio State fans all over the
world doing the "O-H-I-O" cheer.
Ohio State's use of the letters "O-H-I-O" as its trademark in
connection with various activities and products has been continuous and the
public now associates the letters "O-H-I-O", especially when used in
scarlet and gray in conjunction with services and products affiliated, endorsed
or sponsored by Ohio State.
Park Farms sells poultry products bearing
gray color caricature chickens doing the O-H-I-O cheer in scarlet letters. At one time, Park
Farms entered into a valid licensing agreement with Ohio State. Under the terms
of that agreement, Park Farms was to pay Ohio State a negotiated amount per
pound of poultry sold using the Ohio State trademarks. However, after the
agreement's expiration, Park Farms continued to sell poultry products bearing
the O-H-I-O cheer. Though Park Farms has refused to acknowledge Ohio State's trademark
rights, Park Farms, on November 7, allegedly mailed Ohio State a check with no
indication of what it represented.
Currently, Ohio State's licensing program is the most profitable collegiate licensing program in the United States. In the past
five years, it has generated royalties of more than $35 million.
Another Battle Brewing for the Buckeyes. This Time, It's Not
Ohio State Football - It's Ohio State Intellectual Property
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