Friday, July 24, 2009

Trademarks - Franklin College Suit From Start to Quick Finish

I learned of the Franklin College trademark case from The Indianapolis Business' College sues like-named competitor and, frankly, did not hold out much hope for the interloper.

The confusion has finally gotten to Franklin College.

The liberal arts college south of Indianapolis filed a lawsuit today alleging trademark infringement against Ohio-based Franklin University, which will open a campus in Castleton this fall.

Franklin University has run a heavy advertising campaign to mark its entrance into Indianapolis. But Franklin College said the marketing blitz has been too close to Franklin College's own branding.

Moseley said that since Franklin University's advertising began in May, Franklin College has received many calls, comments and e-mail messages asking why the school has changed its name or whether it has opened a satellite office for online courses. He also complained that the colors and clock tower in some Franklin University ads are strikingly similar to Franklin College's logo.

"We have great concerns about the impact of the obvious confusion, especially with prospective students and employers of our alumni," Moseley stated.

In an interview in June, Linda Steele, vice president of marketing for Franklin University, said the school never considered operating under a different name than Franklin in Indianapolis.

"The Franklin College issue came up and we really did have to take a step back and ask the question whether that is a showstopper," Steele said. "Obviously, we think not, because we chose to go forward."
Well, here is the report from The Indiana Lawyer Blog noting that the suit has been settled and has a link to the settlement agreement. Reading the settelment agreement, I think everyone will see a sensible solution that works for the benefit of both parties and also resolves the problem. It may be a bit snarky but perhaps a bit of training on trademarks for the marketing division?