Had you asked the average student about the ISU Trademark Licensing Office a year ago, you would have likely been met with a blank stare, or a look of mild irritation as they attempted to push past you on their way to class. Asking the same question today, however, would likely result in a more potent response. According to a recent flash poll, the question “Do you have a favorable opinion of the ISU Trademark Licensing Office?” resulted in over 95% of students answering either “No” or “Hell No”, with the other 5% being either unable to speak due to righteous indignation or studying law.
During the last few months, the Trademark Licensing Office has become the campus pariah, hated by the student body and under constant scrutiny from the media. This is, of course, due to the office’s recent rule change that requires many student organizations to completely rebrand in order to conform to the legal trademark definitions set forth by the office. This has resulted in students being forcibly thrust into the world of Trademark Law, a field that most sane human beings attempt to avoid at all costs.
Earlier this week however, due to a clerical error, the Trademark Office accidentally filed a formal complaint against itself for “misuse or misrepresentation of the ISU brand” due its name including the term “ISU.” Once the office realized its mistake, it filed 54 separate motions attempting to reverse the complaint. Ironically, due to restrictions on the reversal procedures which were originally installed by the Trademark Office to better torment student organizations, it was unable to stop the complaint from reaching open court. The ensuing legal battle resulted in the Trademark Office fining itself $32,000, being forced to change its name to “The Trademark and Licensing Office at ISU”, and nearly half a million dollars in court fees for the University.
This episode, and the resulting public shaming of the Trademark Office, is but a small solace for a tired and battered student body, which really doesn’t give a shit about whatever the hell a “Trademark” is, and would prefer for the Trademark Office to burn to the ground.