Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday, October 17 is...

Dessalines Day (Haiti)
Family Day (South Africa)

From Shagtown.com:

Dessalines Day, October 17. Anniversary of the death of Jean Jacques Dessalines (d.1806), revolutionary, was declared emperor in 1805.

So he was named emperor in 1805, and died in 1806. I've written morning roundup posts longer than that. This won't be one of them.

You can find analysis of the three gubernatorial debates anywhere but here. For analysis of last night's second district debate, however, go read Common Iowan and John Deeth. Kudos to both of those guys for taking the time to write about Iowa's only competitive, yet not nasty congressional campaign.

Waukee got the phone call from the University of Wisconsin this week that they must have been dreading, the one that starts with, "Hey, y'know how you've been using that logo that's basically ours in a different color?" At first glance, they look a little different. Then I looked at the shadow and recognized that they're nearly identical. Marc Hansen is also up in arms over this, but when a Waukee school official says this:

The Waukee W logo combined the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington logos, school officials said.

That's probably a pretty good sign that you've got a copyright problem. (UPDATE: It's actually a trademark problem.)

The Register has a boatload of information pieces on legislative candidates this morning, but I found this one on District 66 (formerly Fallon, soon to be Ako) interesting, largely because of this line buried in the fifth paragraph:

Des Moines officials also audited Creative Visions, a social services agency founded by Abdul-Samad, for discrepancies in the number of clients served. Last week, city officials said they found no evidence of wrongdoing.

So Ako was on the front page at least 5 times while Creative Visions was being audited, but once he was cleared of wrongdoing, the best they could do was bury that statement in the fifth paragraph of a story about his race. That's awful.

Finally, if you need a good laugh or something that will shake your faith in Congress a little further, check out this list of America's 10 dumbest congressmen, which I found via John Deeth. No Iowans on the list, but some pretty funny stuff about elected officials from both sides of the aisle.



Paul said...

Just a few thoughts on the Wisconsin-Waukee dispute.

First, it's a trademark issue, not a copyright issue.

Also, I have trouble understanding why Waukee is caving so quickly. Unless Wisconsin wants to claim that it has a trademark over every logo that employs a big "W" (which it doesn't) I can't see that there's an actual violation here. The Waukee symbol actually looks more like the Washington "W", and if I had the time and inclination I have no doubt that I could find dozens of organizations that use big "W"s as their logo. It doesn't matter that school officials admitted that they looked to the Washington and Wisconsin logos in creating theirs. No idea comes from whole cloth. The real question is whether there is any risk of confusion, and we all know that there is none (there are more than enough distinguishing characteristics between the logos (logi?), and no one thinks Waukee and Wisconsin are in any way affiliated).

My question is which Wisconsin official got up one day and decided to be an enormous asshole.

KL Snow said...


Thanks for the correction on the trademark/copyright language. I've updated the post.

Second, it's really more than just a big block W. Like I said before, if you get a picture of the two side by side, look at the shadowing. It's even slanted at the same angle. This isn't a case of someone else simply using a block letter W. This is a case of someone using something very similar to an established trademark, and possibly one of the more profitable ones in college sports.

Third, to answer your question about "which Wisconsin official," it was actually a lawyer for a company that represents hundreds of colleges and universities. So it's possible the UW actually had no idea the call was being made.


noneed4thneed said...

Can the University of Wisconsin sue President Bush for giving the letter W a bad name?

Chelsea said...

On another note, The Register did run a big front-page story when they un-blacklisted Creative Visions. Your criticism still stands, though (it just stands shorter now).

Paul said...


While I agree that the shading on the two logos is similar ("motion W," as Wisconsin officials call it), neither logo comes close to being the originator of that type of shading. It is a somewhat typical graphic design element, and Wisconsin has no right to claim it. While the two logos share some similar elements, they also are dissimilar in some ways, and I don't see any unique elements in the Wisconsin logo that were capable of trademark, in and of themselves. The question is can Wisconsin trademark the use of the letter W with that type of shading? I think not.

The real question is whether there is any risk of confusion. If there isn't, then there's no TM violation. For instance, a pet store and a chocolate shop in the same State could both be named "Turtles" without a trademark violation existing: there is no risk that someone would assume that the chocolate shop must have good chocolates because they had bought some fine turtles at the pet store.
If Waukee were in Wisconsin and had the nickname of the "Badgers," UW's would be better. However, no one is confused in the current case.

Finally, lawyers don't file suits on their own; they file suits on behalf of their clients. There is really little doubt that UW execs knew about and approved of the action against Waukee.

Anonymous said...

Ako was not cleared of wrongdoing. The council just said they couldn't find anything and this couldn't have anything to do witht he fact that Ako kept no records as to where the money went, right? The Des Moines coucil has an incentive to "find nothing." They don't want anyone asking any more questions around the coucil chambers and uncovering any more scandals requiring more resignations.

Paul, you're right on.