Michigan high school must remove Ball State-similar logo by fall

Portland Public Schools in Michigan will have to change their "Raider bird" logo after reaching an agreement with Ball State University for rights over the logo.

Portland was infringing on the Ball State trademark and is currently under a short-term licensing agreement with Ball State. The logo will have to be changed by the beginning of fall.

Ball State started communicating with Portland during Fall 2009, when they asked the schools to turn in a revised draft of the logo.

The revised draft was sent in January. However, it was not sufficiently different, Vice President of Marketing Tony Proudfoot said.

"This is not uncommon," he said. "We have had other cases in which we work with the other school until their logo is sufficiently different."

After the revision was turned down, Portland schools decided to start over by creating a new logo, Proudfoot said.

"The reason we are doing this is that, from a legal stand, we have no choice but to make them change," he said. "From a precedent or trademark law, we have no choice but to protect our mark from any other schools."

Proudfoot said Ball State understands it will be easier to take the logo off certain products, such as printed programs, but others will require some time to be changed. He said Ball State is working with Portland to make the necessary changes as soon as possible.

"Our interest at the moment is for them to stop using the mark," he said. "We are doing what we can to accommodate that through license."

The schools are still undergoing negotiations to see how long Portland will be allowed to keep the logo on floors, walls and scoreboards, according to the Michigan newspaper Ionia Sentinel Standard.


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