Ohio State University Suing Former Student for Supposed Trademark Violations
When Brandon Fuss-Cheatham came to Ohio State University in 2001 as a highly touted guard, people expected tremendous results from the marksman due to his having tallied 2,278 points for his Western Pennsylvania-situated Blackhawk High School. The buckets, however, were not as plentiful when he joined the Buckeyes, as he averaged 3.5 points over 113 contests. The 34-year-old is finally making headlines, though, but they concern the possible breaking of laws instead of ankles. His alma mater is suing the 2005 alumnus, claiming that his Lamp Apparel is committing trademark infringement by hawking items that contain counterfeits or imitations of its protected signifiers.
Through a 23-page lawsuit filed June 14, the Columbus-based institution painstakingly details its status as a leading educational haven and mentions the popularity of commercial signifiers, deeming that Fuss-Cheatham was “well aware of the Ohio State Trademarks and Ohio State’s use of the Ohio State Trademarks on clothing items” due to his past matriculation there and the operation of his entity, whose physical space rests fewer than five miles from the main campus. The document describes outreach to the defendant, through which officials made clear that his T-shirts could not continue to use their symbols commercially, with the supposed trademark violations occurring through his marketing symbols such as the Buckeye leaf, the Block O and the O-H-I-O cheer.
“Defendant’s actions are intended to cause, have caused and are likely to continue to cause confusion, mistake and deception among consumers, the public and Ohio State’s licensees as to whether Defendant’s infringing and counterfeit merchandise originates from or is affiliated with, sponsored by, licensed by or endorsed by Ohio State”, adding that the nation’s third-largest site for higher learning “is suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable harm should Defendant’s unauthorized offering to manufacture, manufacturing, selling and shipping of the counterfeit merchandise continue.”
Because of its clout, Ohio State, the overseer of certainly one of the most revered collegiate athletic programs, has found itself fighting a few legal battles to protect its trademarks, including an ongoing squabble with CafePress. The matter with Fuss-Cheatham, however, sounds quite compelling, as it represents an educational titan going against a product of its hallowed halls and seeking $1 million in statutory damages. A local report on the situation stated that as of Wednesday, most of the licensed material had disappeared from the Lamp Apparel website.