Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Clash of the logos rages on

October 15, 2005


Kansas University's logo controversy with Kutztown University has taken a serious turn - even as the jokes spread.

Kansas KU officials want the 9,800-student KU in Pennsylvania to help clear up any confusion and to recognize that Kansas KU has superiority in its rights to the two letters, said Paul Carttar, Kansas KU's executive vice chancellor for External Affairs.

"We have something to protect," Carttar said. "We are KU."

But Phillip Breeze, Kutztown U's director of university relations, said the schools aren't really competing. At least 90 percent of Kutztown U's student body is from Pennsylvania - that's required by Pennsylvania law - and the university sells little merchandise outside the Quaker State.

"For 23 years (Kansas KU) didn't seem to notice we were using the letters, so it doesn't seem like they were being harmed," Breeze said.

Kansas KU officials became aware of the similar logos after a Sept. 30 story in the Journal-World. Kansas KU unveiled its logo earlier this year after paying $88,900 to a consultant to help select it and write guidelines for its use.

The logo on the left is for Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. The one on the right is for Kansas University. Both display "KU" in a variation of the capitalized Trajan font, with the leg of the "K" swooping underneath the "U."

The logo on the left is for Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. The one on the right is for Kansas University. Both display "KU" in a variation of the capitalized Trajan font, with the leg of the "K" swooping underneath the "U."

Kutztown did a logo overhaul about two years before Kansas University's for which it paid $20,000.

The logo controversy clearly isn't being taken too seriously by some in Pennsylvania.

On Friday, the Reading (Pa.) Eagle newspaper offered the "Top 10 things Kutztown University can do to respond to the dispute with Kansas University over the use of the KU logo."

Number 10: "Challenge Kansas to a football game to settle the matter, winner take all."

"We can't do that," Kansas KU Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony said. "We've got to play Division One schools."

Marchiony said he got a good laugh from the list.

"Usually those top 10s are lame, but I actually thought this one was pretty good," he said.

Kansas KU has the federal registration for the word mark "KU" in higher education, merchandising and intercollegiate athletics, Carttar said.

He said Kansas KU receives more than $1 million annually in licensing revenue and fights a constant battle enforcing its trademark rights and ensuring royalties are paid.

Carttar said he and others have been in talks with Kutztown staff and their legal counsel in hopes of a solution.

"Our number one priority is to the University of Kansas," he said.

Using legal means to settle the issue is possible but not expected, Carttar said.

Possible remedies include cross-licensing or having Kutztown University modify its logo to avoid confusion with Kansas KU. But nothing has been settled yet.

Carttar said he'd also seen the Eagle's top-10 list.

"I've just sent that on to a lot of people," he said. "It's pretty amusing. Don't you think?"

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kutztown's top 10 responses

If Kutztown University officials were worried what to do about sharing a logo with Kansas University, a Pennsylvania newspaper has come to the rescue. On Friday, the Reading Eagle offered "Top 10 things Kutztown University can do to respond to the dispute with Kansas University over the use of the KU logo:" 10. Challenge Kansas to a football game to settle the matter, winner take all. 9. Take advantage of the confusion to book games with Texas and Oklahoma. 8. Sulk because you suspect your top recruits signed with Kansas by mistake. 7. Tell Kansas you can't reach your lawyer because he's busy filing bankruptcy petitions. 6. Revert to Kutztown State University and go with KSU. 5. Force Kansas players to wear those silly TM insignias on their helmets. 4. Switch fonts from Trajan to Zapf Dingbats. 3. License the logo from Kansas for $1 million and ask the state education department to pick up the tab. 2. Change your name to Frisbee University and notify the bloggers if some company wants you to be Plastic Flying Disc University instead. 1. Anagram the school letters into Zwntkuot University and try to psyche out opponents by pretending your quarterback is Mr. Mxyzptlk.


Jillster 12 years, 8 months ago

If I were the legal staff at the University of Kansas, I'd go after the consultant that designed our new KU logo, and demand back some of that $88,900 from the person who designed it. The consultant obviously did not do enough homework, and did not ensure that he/she was providing KU with a unique logo. If the LJW could sniff this one out, the consultant should have done so before submitting the design for consideration.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 8 months ago

Hey Jayhawks get your money back and keep the original Jayhawk logo. There was nothing wrong with it in the first place and the admin spent way too much money trying to accomplish what? Forget the new logo. Did someone have too much time on their hands?

Instead of changing the logo how about srtiving to be among the top 10 universities in the country.

wysocki 12 years, 8 months ago

If anyone has to modify their logo to avoid copyright infringement - if this becomes the issue - it's Kansas since Kutztown's logo appears to have been used for 23 years without any objection by Kansas. Jillster is absolutely right when she suggests the logo's design consultant should have checked into this in the first place.

jayhawks71 12 years, 8 months ago

It isn't COPYRIGHT infringement it's TRADEMARK infringement, the two are different. The University of Kansas owns the trademark on KU in higher ed and therefore the infringing party is Kutztown.

Sure I would love to make 90k designing two letters in a font that someone else designed, but the reason KU (KS) probably paid much more is because they are a nationally marketed product; KU (PA) isn't. If, (and this is speculation) the KU (KS) logo firm really examined the market for the client for whom they were producing the logo, KU (KS) certainly would have paid more for their logo design. The market for KU (PA) is miniscule in comparison and thus, more market research had to be done for KU (KS).

Note: re-read that without the parenthetical items and get a taste of what KU has a problem with.

jayhawks2006 12 years, 8 months ago

"re-read that without the parenthetical items and get a taste of what KU has a problem with."

What problem is that? There should never be confusion because no one has ever mentioned these two schools in the same sentence before this whole controversy came about.

Personally I think all the MSUs and USCs have a little harder problem than the KU(s).

Sigmund 12 years, 8 months ago

I know I am picking nits here but the official name of the state's land grant univeristy here in Lawrence is "The University of Kansas" (UK) not "Kansas University" (KU). This story reminds me of one of my favorite Dilbert strips. Dogbert is speaking to Dilbert and says "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will buy a silly hat; charge a starving man to talk about fishing and you're a consultant." OK, it was a strech but hey I have nothing else today.

lunacydetector 12 years, 8 months ago

it's all about money with KU. can't they get off this little school's back? come on people.

they spend $88,900 for the "KU" logo - an assinine amount. now they threaten legal action against this little school because the JW embarrassed KU by pointing out their stupidity.

go KU! the big gorilla on the hill ready to smash anyone who comes along. at least KU got the City to put in and pay for (the taxpayer's) a gigantic firestation.

moving the KU game to Arrowhead makes me boil. just goes to show, all KU is about anymore is take, take, take.

ban KU!

Jamesaust 12 years, 8 months ago

On one hand, Kutztown has it mostly fair - there's so little possibility for confusion (the prime aspect that trademark law seeks to avoid) that Kansas is being overly aggressive. A simple agreement stating the limited uses Kutztown now makes of "KU" and an acknowledgment that future uses will need approval by Kansas are all that is necessary. Trademark has a strong focus on territoriality. Kansas will say its territory is the whole of the U.S. There is some basis for this. Remember 22 January 2005 at Villanova (the massive loss followed by the snow-in sulk in Philadelphia said to focus on making the performance an aberration but in perspective was just the first sign of implosion?). However small, yes, Kansas does have an image to protect in Pennsylvania.

On the other hand, Kutztown needs to do what an over-(alumni)-donated Kansas should have done, sit down with a small appointed panel and a wordprocessor and take an hour to pick a new logo. [Might I suggest in MS Word spelling Kutztown using 'Algerian' with the 'small caps' feature on? Its classy. Note: if Kutztown goes with this, I expect a check for $89k.]

Tyson Travis 12 years, 8 months ago

C'mon, KU, lighten up a bit---or are you just ticked off because tiny Kutztown got a better-looking logo than yours at less than a third of the price? You and Kentucky have carved up the country, KU and UK, so what do you propose Kutztown calls themselves, after all, those ARE their initials. It's not like you are competing for Final Four trinkets or anything like that. Actually, I like their logo better, if it was printed correctly in the J-W, theirs shows the sweep of the hill much better. Fire your media consultants. Our trademark is the Sandy Jayhawk, don't let anyone infringe on that, but you're missing a big chance to look good by being charitable to or partnering with a smaller school that does not compete with you (or does Kutztown play with Bucknell?) Don't lose even more face by trying to slam the little guys. Those big bucks could have helped endow a visiting professorship to get KU back among the elite universities. Beat OU! T. Travis, KU '67, Ark.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 12 years, 8 months ago

If they do # 5, then they might have a battle such as this with K State, what a silly bunch of doo doo. For one thing even $ 20, 000 is way too much to pay for a logo, much less the $ 88,900 KU paid. KU should leave the PA school alone, like the man said they used the same letters for 23 years before KU even noticed. Just forget the whole silly thing and go on down the road. Thank you, Lynn

Lib_ee12 12 years, 8 months ago

Good job lynn, you noticed the 'joke' part of the top ten.

jayhawks71 12 years, 8 months ago

It baffles me at the brazen ignorance of this group. Really. How about you list what YOU do for a living and let the rest of us decide whether YOU make "too much" for what you do. Hilarious, a bunch of experts in the logo business here in Lawrence KS.

Let's actually find out a bit about something before jumping on it at face value. KU markets to the entire US (if not further) and therefore when market research is conducted, the entire marketplace needs to be evaluated. Kutztown doesn't see its market as going much past the borders of PA and thus market research does not need to extend past that point.

Hmm I wonder if a worldwide organization like say Microsoft spends more money on their market research than say Love Garden.

Everyone's a critic. I think you are all just jealous that you spend your day tarring roofs for half the pay.

LawrenceMommy 12 years, 8 months ago

Just a little anecdote for everyone...a lot of people seem to be arguing that KU (Kansas) is just being mean and after money and that KU (Pennsylvania) is the "nicer" party.

I lived in PA during part of my high school years and my ex-boyfriend went to Kutztown University. It just strikes me as ironic that Kutztown is an overwhelmingly conservative school and KU (Kansas) is known as a stronghold of liberalism. Seems as though the liberals are the greedy money-mongers, in this case. LOL

Tyson Travis 12 years, 8 months ago

Here's a possible solution: If the logos were printed correctly in the J-W, I notice that Kutztown's is in RED and ours is in BLUE. Why don't we just split the logos with them as long as they agree to use red, and we'll stick with blue. While we're at it, why don't we quit trying to emulate OU, NU, ISU, and T-Tech, and lose the stupid red jerseys? Let Kutztown have the red logo, and we'll stick with the blue one, as well as the blue jerseys which give us our unique Big-12 identity.

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