Tonight in the men’s Elite Eight® of the NCAA® March Madness® basketball tournament, many will be rooting for the underdog, the St. Peter’s Peacocks, against one of the powerhouses of basketball, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
This isn’t just David vs Goliath on the court, but in trademark protection. The University of North Carolina system owns more than 100 trademark registrations and applications, and UNC at Chapel Hill owns more than 20 registrations. St. Peter’s owns none. So while their coach and players may have been ready for the spotlight in the Men’s tournament, their brand was not. The school is no doubt selling record amounts of shirts and other merchandise; and no doubt many are making knock-offs. Yet the school will have a much more challenging (stressful, lengthy, expensive) time combatting such knock-offs because it does not have a registration for the school name, mascot name, logo, or anything!