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Texas law school can't use new name due to trademark infringement

The South Texas College of Law, or school formerly known as such, must change its name again due to a Trademark infringement lawsuit. The law school's plans to use "Houston College of Law" were halted by a suit filed by the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) approximately four months ago.

Although the names are not an exact match, the law schools also have similar logos, especially for school colors. "As is true of the UHLC logo, defendant's logo uses block letters, emphasizes the word "HOUSTON," and utilizes a red and white color scheme," U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison said in his opinion. "Indeed, these features are ubiquitous throughout defendant's marketing materials."

Judge Ellison granted the defendant a temporary injunction earlier this month, which was defeated this week. As a result, the defendant will need a second name change, which will be sent to UHLC for their blessing by November 4. 

The defendant has already removed their banner displaying the name "Houston College of Law" and has stopped selling logo merchandise. Billboards also should come down in the next week. The law school also will need to change its name on its website and social media, as well as with the American Bar Association database.

This ruling has hit the school hard financially, as they spent $458,000 to publicize the new name. In many ways, this case can serve as a reminder of the importance in conducting a thorough Trademark search before investing in a name. This can be done most effectively with help from an experienced Intellectual Property attorney.

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