“Brand Battles: Chipotle, Houston, World Wildlife Fund”
Houston, We Have Another Problem
It looks like another interesting trademark fight could be brewing in Houston.
Last summer, the University of Houston sued the South Texas College of Law for infringement after it rebranded to “Houston College of Law,” claiming the name change and a switch to a similar red-and-white color scheme would confuse prospective students and future employers. Eventually, in an order that invoked the doctrine of “initial interest confusion,” a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction ordering South Texas to change its name.
The two schools settled in March, agreeing to compromise on “South Texas College of Law Houston,” but the trademark action might be about to pick up again in the Space City.
This week, that very same South Texas College of Law lodged an extension of time to file a new opposition against the very same University of Houston, potentially setting up a challenge to the bigger school’s application to register “Houston.” The university wants the term registered in plain text for both education services and for various printed media, like “souvenir programs and media guides for athletic events.”
If South Texas does formally oppose the university’s application, it might not be alone: The school’s extension filing this week was joined by the Houston Astros and Houston Community College, which both have pretty clear interests in blocking the sought-after registration.
The university is represented by Thompson & Knight LLP. South Texas is represented by Haynes and Boone LLP. The Astros are represented by Cowan Liebowitz & Latman PC. The community college is represented by Strasburger & Price LLP.