Colleges Are Patent Trolls

I’ve written before about the increasingly corporate nature of the American university, in particular various college efforts to trademark their identities.

Back in 2010 the University of Southern California successfully sued the University of South Carolina for the use of the USC acronym.

DrinkABeer

But this is ridiculous. According to a piece at Slate, the following are real terms copyrighted by academic institutions:

  • “first-year experience” has been trademarked by the University of South Carolina
  • “fast-track MBA” has been trademarked by Eastern University
  • “be the difference” has been trademarked by Marquette University
  • “cure violence” has been trademarked by the University of Illinois
  • “student life” has been trademarked by Washington University in St. Louis
  • “students with diabetes” has been trademarked by the University of South Florida
  • “one course at a time” has been trademarked by Cornell College
  • “touched by a nurse” has been trademarked by the University of Colorado
  • “we’re conquering cancer” has been trademarked by the University of Texas
  • “working toward a world without cancer” has been trademarked by the University of Kansas Hospital
  • “imagination beyond measure” has been trademarked by the University of Virginia
  • “tomorrow starts here” has been trademarked by East Carolina University

Seriously, what’s a nurse doing when she takes your blood pressure anywhere outside of Boulder, Colorado?

And they’re serious about this crap, too. Slate reports that West Virginia University actually sued a company that printed T-shirts that said “Let’s Go Drink Some Beers,” or something, because it was too close to the university’s trademarked, “Let’s Go Mountaineers!” [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer