Trademark infringement is a serious matter. That’s the hard lesson that Johnson City school officials are learning now. As Press staff writer Gary B. Gray reported in Friday’s paper, the financial fallout from the pilfered logo of the grimacing man in the top hat is still unknown. What we do know, however, is someone showed a serious lack of judgment in this matter.
As of last week, no one has been called to account for this mess. That seems a bit curious. We’ve heard no discussions among school administrators, or Board of Education members on how to prevent something like this from happening again. That’s more than just curious — it’s disturbing.
As lawyers for Duquesne University stated in a letter to Johnson City officials in June, the Pittsburgh school must “protect its intellectual property rights or risk losing them.”
That’s why the university has been so forceful in demanding Science Hill High School to stop using what is — by all legal standards — its logo.
This incident is not only embarrassing for Science Hill, it could also be expensive to the school system and the city’s taxpayers. The school board recently approved a new policy to allow the naming of schools and facilities after notable sports figures and coaches.
We hope board members will soon give this kind of thought and time to developing a policy dealing with any major changes that might be made to the logos or mascots of city schools in the future.