For a little Friday fun last week, I posted an item taking note of the similarity between Gordon Smith's campaign graphics and the U of O's graphics.
Well, it turns out it's a bit more serious than I realized.
First, the visual recap:
Over at DuckSportsNews.com, they've got the story. Apparently, it's a well-guarded custom font owned by the University - and they aggressively protect their trademarks:
Even though the “Mike Bellotti” font (”Bellotti Bold” might be its proper name), as it’s called within the Athletics Department, was designed by Nike, it belongs [to] the UO. There might be others out there like it (Eurostile, Blair, Bank Gothic, & Serpentine), but there’s only one “Oregon” font.
And it’s copyrighted. Federally registered. All that jazz.
Here’s one other thing about the font: for designers working with the UO, getting it is a bit of a Holy Grail. Only a few at the Casanova Center have it. Just try getting a hold of it. Good luck. Believe me. Because I’ve tried. And then try using it and see if you don’t get a call from the Trademark Management office.
On a bit of a lark, I decided to call Gordon Smith’s campaign headquarters to see if they had in fact used the Oregon font for the logo. And they said, “No.”. (You be the judge on that one. Although, I doubt a staffer is going to know if a certain font was used for the new logo.)
Then I called the Oregon’s Trademark Office to see if Oregon did own the font. And I was told they did, along with all that other stuff about copyright and it being federally registered.
But the Trademark Office also told me something else. I had not been the first to call. Looks like The Oregonian called yesterday. We’ll see where that goes. ...
In particular, DuckSportsNews.com identifies some serious implications:
- If U.S. Senator Gordon Smith’s campaign is using the Oregon font for his logo, he’s using a copyright-protected font for his campaign. (And, yes, on occasion we use copyrighted material, as well. However, we are not United State Senators running for re-election.)
- If the campaign is using the font and is called on it (and I don’t think it will be), he’s going to have to sink some money into changing up some of his materials. It might be just on the commercial. I don’t know. But if the campaign is producing a bunch of collateral material such as signs, banners, brochures, he’s going to incur some costs.