Friday, December 14, 2007

Loco About Logos

Yep, these logo infringement cases are sure important. The latest flap is local. A west Texas high school has been using a stylized Cougar that is obviously patterned after the Washington State Cougar logo. It's all about merchandising, right? Being able to identify with and sell logo emblazoned paraphernalia is serious business and makes lawyers rich if someone does indeed infringe. Money.

There was another case back in September when Penn State went after an elementary school in Virginia for the same thing. A high school and an elementary school. I can't help but wonder who in their right mind would mistake either for the vaunted Washington State or Penn State. Beyond that who other than alums and students care anyway? If the logos are so sacred why to they keep changing? And whatever happened to imitation being such a great form of flattery?

It seems to me more thought might be given to the student athletes. Universities are turning out the likes of Michael Vick, much of the Cincinnati Bengals football team, so many baseball players, basketball, track and every other professional sport that has its roots in the school system. The many who flaunt the law seem to pay little in return. Would not effort be better placed in the quality of education and sense of responsibility instilled in these students?

True, "stealing" is wrong. Asking permission would be a nice way of handling it and granting permission even nicer. Like the old leg bone theory, the elementary kids move on to high school, the high school kids on to college and the college kids on to the pros. From the earliest of stages, standards of behavior are set.

By the time the pro level is reached the trouble plays out. When a team as good as the New England Patriots has a coach who steals opposing team's play signals, integrity has reached rock bottom. If they go on to an undefeated season it should have an asterisk as surely as Barry Bonds home run record. The season can not be anything other than suspect.

Takes you back to square one doesn't it? It's all about money; whether it's a naive school district having to redo it's logo, college level lawsuits or winning at all costs. That's it. $$$$$$. And the unwarranted sense of entitlement that comes with it.

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