The Tale of Two Patriots: New England (left) and Lake Brantley HighWhen 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.
Two Rams Not Better Than One: Dodge (left) and Lake Mary HighIn 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.