Court Says U Of Southern California Only One Who Can Use USC; Sorry U Of South Carolina

from the trademark-madness dept

DEF points us to a recent appeals court (federal circuit) ruling that held that the University of South Carolina cannot use the letters USC on its sports uniforms because the University of Southern California already claims those letters. Seriously. It’s hard to see how this makes much sense at all. USC is an accurate acronym for both schools, and it makes no sense to limit it. In an amazingly obnoxious gloating victory note, the lawyer for the USC from California “suggested that the letters were more deservedly linked to the Trojans’ warrior image than to ‘a goofy little chicken,'” by which he meant the logo of the South Carolina teams. The lawyer for the USC from the east coast noted that “Southern manners” kept him from responding to that point.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Court Says U Of Southern California Only One Who Can Use USC; Sorry U Of South Carolina”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

Re: Well, yeah...

It was the name of the team that went afoul of his “southern manners”. a citizen of the south, I can tell you straight that nobody here can take an insult sitting down. Unless his team happens to be the gamecocks. It’s par for the course there. But then again, they get cheerleaders like this:

I have seen at least one fan with “I love my Cocks” on their t-shirt. They may be frightenly proud of their cocks.

(dammit. made it to the last sentence without laughing…)


While I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of this article, the facts are a bit off. The source article left out quite a few significant details.

The lawsuit wasn’t about the letters “USC”. It’s about one specific configuration of letters: the interlocking letters “SC” as used by the baseball programs of both schools. Southern California argued that South Carolina’s logo was confusingly similar. (As a South Carolina alumnus and a Techdirt fan, I think that’s ridiculous, but hey.)

Bob Bunderfeldsays:

Date Started?

Why Southern Cal is allowed USC over South Carolina I don’t understand.

University of South Carolina was established in 1805, while University of Southern California was established in 1880. It would seem to me that if either of these two Schools had the “right” to use the letters of USC, the one who was established first should be given that “right”.

Like many though, it’s still silly to think that USC can only mean “University of Southern California”. Although, with Lane Kiffin now at USC (West) I imagine the Dean of the College is doing everything he can to make sure USC stays with USC (West) even after the NCAA deals them a Death Penalty of Recruiting Violations.


Fred McTakersays:

This trademark dispute came up before, between the same schools

This all started with UoS-California’s “USC Graphic Identity Program” in 1994. They won the right to the USC trademark back then, after a similar legal fight with UoS-Carolina, so that they could make it a standard part of their letterhead, etc.

This SC interlock logo seems more about the sports promotion side, and UoS-California was first to market with their use. The Gamecocks not only tried a similar interlocking SC pattern on sportswear, but also had similar shades of red on the lettering to the existing TM.

A reminder: Trademark ownership is not based on first to business or even first to use, but only the first registered use in commerce. The game company Insomniac Games won a similar TM scuffle against another game company Insomniac Studios, because Insomniac Games were the first company with a game on the shelves with their “Insomniac” TM on the packaging. Insomniac Studios changed their name before their first release to resolve it. Insomniac is still a dictionary word that anyone can use. The fight here is over branding and use in commerce or promotion, not about who can use the USC abbreviation in other contexts.


This is stupid. Anyone that is a fan of either will know which is which by colors (BTW what are U of SCalifornia’s colors?). So.Cal. did this knowing full well that most people associate USC with South Carolina (I mean I’ve never even heard of U of Sout. Cal. until now) and they wanted that recognition. Does anyone know if these two schools meet in any college sports? I don’t like college sports that much but I would go to said game just to cheer for U of South Carolina.


look it up!

USC was first charted as a college in 1805. They were first chartered as a UNIVERSITY in 1866. So Cal was chartered as a University in 1880. I have no problem with So Cal keeping the rights to “SC”…..but some people keep ignorantly referring to So Cal as USC. Thr Trojans have a “SC” on their athletic team uniforms for a reason: THEY ARE NOT USC!


Yeah, because being named after a Revolutionary War commander who earned the nickname the Carolina Gamecock for his fierce battle tactics is much more silly than being named after an ancient civilization who is known for being wiped out in a war and has no connection to the state of California. Well I guess I can see how a silly chicken threatens the Trojans warrior image. The Gamecocks mascot historically has a warrior image and the Trojans are legendary for losing.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ┬╗

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it