Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Patriot and the Ram

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Photo Credit: David July — The Francis Scott Key Bridge (1923) beyond a rock along the Little River off the Swamp Trail, Theodore Roosevelt Island, District of Columbia, 05 September 2009 Stepping outside the office to take a break on a not-so-cold day about a month ago, I noticed a co-worker's sweater had a familiar logo on it. Most people, the wearer included, would immediately recognize the logo as that of the New England Patriots North American football franchise. This was not my first thought, however, as my former high school sometimes uses the very same logo. Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is home of the Patriots, where they used to "meet the challenge" but now apparently "make the difference." While the mascot, school seal and other official materials contain original works of art, the New England Patriots head logo and script typeface "Patriots" are/were featured on athletic uniforms, t-shirts, websites and documents. I explained all this to my co-workers and wondered how this never resulted in a lawsuit for trademark infringement. I suppose it is not outside the realm of possibility the National Football League decided not to take action because it was a high school, not to mention one with a well-established football program. Then again, of those copyright and trademark holders most inclined to sue I would think the NFL would rank highly. Photo Credit: National Football League — Two Patriot Heads, New England Patriots football team (left) and Lake Brantley High School Patriots (right)
The Tale of Two Patriots: New England (left) and Lake Brantley High
When I was at Lake Brantley (1995–1999) the registrar was Regina Klaers, a kind and professional woman with whom I was fortunate to know. She was promoted to the County level before I graduated, but I made a point to stop and visit her from time to time. She has no idea1, but she just answered this long running question for me in a one-sentence quote in the Orlando Sentinel: "The NFL does not have a problem with schools using the logos as long as there are limitations on it." The same article goes on to note that as long as no competition is involved with NFL licensed firms, "teams often are happy to have high schools emulate them." The quote was prompted by a recent situation involving Lake Mary High School, home of the Rams. For reasons past understanding, Lake Brantley has long been high school rivals with Lake Mary. I remember their logo being a bighorn sheep standing with the word "Rams" in script below it. They still use this version apparently but a few years ago started using the Dodge ram head logo on uniforms, benches and even the gym floor. Tipped off by an anonymous citizen, Chrysler sent a cease and desist letter to Seminole County Public Schools and threatened to sue. The district decided to comply, intelligently concluding the financial resources could be better spent on students then on a hopeless legal battle, and Lake Mary must eliminate the infringing logo by the end of the school year. Photo Credit: Chrysler Group, LLC — Two Ram Heads, Dodge Ram (left) and Lake Mary High School Rams (right)
Two Rams Not Better Than One: Dodge (left) and Lake Mary High
In response to criticism over their move, Chrysler spokesman Mike Palese told the Sentinel, "it is a course of action we have to take to protect our trademark rights. If we don't approach these kinds of things with dilligence [sic]2, we can lose our trademark rights." Interestingly enough, Chrysler will stop using this logo itself in 2010 opting instead for a text-only logo. Quickly working to distinguish corporate decisions from their family owned and operated dealership, Orlando Chrysler Jeep Dodge has offered to redesign the Lake Mary logo for free. In the meantime, the old bighorn sheep just have to do.
 1  Unless she is reading this now. In that case, hello, Mrs. Klaers!  2  It seems the Tallahassee Democrat is not the only newspaper to forego spell checking.
Photo Credit: David July Original Photo Credit: National Football League Original Photo Credit: Chrysler Group, LLC

Two Comment Bubbles two Comments

  • Jeff

    Interesting. My middle school's mascot is the roadrunner, which was depicted as the Warner Brothers cartoon version.

  • David July

    Someone had better warn them before Time Warner drops an anvil on their heads logo.

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