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Gamecocks Lose Logo Battle Against Trojans

(CN) - The University of South Carolina lost a trademark duel with the University of Southern California over similar interlocking "SC" logos.

The Federal Circuit backed a trademark board's decisions refusing to register the Gamecocks' "SC" baseball logo and dismissing South Carolina's bid to have Southern California's trademark canceled.

South Carolina's Gamecocks wanted to print the baseball logo on hats, uniforms, T-shirts and other apparel, but the Southern California Trojans claimed the logo was confusingly similar to its own "SC" design.

The Trademark Trial and Appeals Board agreed that the logos would likely confuse consumers, particularly gift buyers and "new or casual fans."

The federal appeals court upheld the board's decision and dismissed South Carolina's counterclaim that Southern California's logo falsely suggested an affiliation with the state of South Carolina.

"[T]o avoid summary judgment, South Carolina must have shown that there was a genuine issue for trial on whether the initials 'SC' 'point uniquely' to the State," U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled for the three-judge panel.

But the Gamecocks failed to do so, she concluded.

"We agree that 'SC' may refer to the State of South Carolina. But as the evidence offered by Southern California demonstrates, 'SC' refers to many entities aside from the State."


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