Virginia school says farewell to "A" design
In the historic location of one of the final battles between Confederate and Union troops, another battle raged — but this one was between the UA and a county high school, over a logo.
In July, the UA issued a cease and desist letter to Appomattox County High School, located in Virginia, regarding the school’s use of the university’s “A” design. In the past month, the university reached an agreement with the school regarding a phase-out of the high school’s logo, said Alixe Holcomb, director of Trademarks and Licensing at the UA.
“We do it with any school that’s using the University of Arizona brand,” Holcomb said. “We don’t want to cause them any financial hardship and just want them to understand we’re doing our due diligence on protecting our brand.”
Holcomb said the university typically works on a four-year phase- out plan. She said whenever the school needs to replace uniforms, it would then choose a new logo. The same applies for when Appomattox needs to refinish floors bearing the symbol and so on.
However, the school will not be required to change one of the historic buildings that bears the UA logo, due to concerns over costs for the school.
“That’s something that we actually aren’t going to require them to change the flooring on, just because the project would be too expensive,” Holcomb said. “We don’t want to disrupt the structure and unsettle any historic foundation that’s part of the building.”
The Collegiate Licensing Company helps enforce the brand on the UA’s behalf, which is what led to the cease and desist order. Holcomb said school officials are constantly monitoring the Internet, looking for other schools using the brand. If it’s a significant enough issue, the UA will then work with the CLC on it.
“There are quite a few schools that like to use brand names, and our brand is really strong regionally,” Holcomb said. “A lot of schools like to use our brand.”
The “A” logo is located on the high school’s scoreboards, as well as on sports merchandise, according to a Times-Virginian news article. In the article, Chris Dodge, the high school’s athletic director, said he believed the school has been using the “A” design for about 10 years.
Amy Martin, a school board member for Appomattox County Public Schools, said the board has discussed the issue, but has not discussed the phase-out plan specifically.
She added that the board would have to approve the logo change, once it is decided.Greg Smith, vice-chair of the school board, said he could not discuss the legal issue, but that he found the cease and desist order surprising.
“I think it’s comical how you can copyright a font,” Smith said. “My middle initial is ‘A,’ so I thought about filing … a cease and desist order.”
- Follow Brittny Mejia @BrittnyAriel