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Penn State Trademark Lawsuit

Why is a group of college law professors from across the nation asking a federal judge to rule against Penn State in a landmark sports merchandising court case?

It’s a case we’ve been following for several years now, since June of 2021, when Penn State filed a federal suit against Vintage Brand LLC.

The University stated that the company is selling Penn State apparel and gear without approval or a licensing agreement with the University, claiming counterfeiting and trademark violations.

Vintage admits it doesn’t have a licensing agreement; however, the company filed a countersuit against Penn State over some of the issues raised, and a federal judge sided with the company, essentially saying that the trademark law does not provide universities with blanket control over items with their trademarks

Now, a group of 18 intellectual property law professors have filed a brief in the case, urging the presiding judge to support Vintage LLC’s motion for a summary judgement.

The professors stress they have no stake in the case, and they’re not necessarily attacking Penn State, instead, as they state in their opening, “trademark law has gone awry, and this court can help fix it.”

Elsewhere, the professors argue a change in current licensing and trademark laws will help consumers because they feel reform will loosen controls on competition, and lead to a range of quality goods among producers, which would include more merchandise at lower prices.

At stake in the case, the millions of dollars in revenue that universities receive through trademark and licensing agreements.

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