OKOBOJI, Iowa | The University of Oregon Ducks are crying foul after discovering that the Okoboji school district is using a similar “O” logo on uniforms and scoreboards.
The Eugene, Ore., university sent a letter to district officials in December asking the Pioneers to stop using their maroon-colored “O” because it infringes on the Ducks’ trademarked green or yellow emblem.
School Superintendent Gary Janssen said he has drafted a plan to phase out the logo – one of many the district uses – but is asking the university to give the district time. Logos using a different font style will not be affected.
Janssen declined to discuss the plan.
“The whole issue is the cost of replacing the Oregon ‘O,’” Jansen said. “If it’s on the scoreboard, we can’t just buy a new scoreboard. If it’s on uniforms, we can’t just buy new uniforms.”
Janssen did not know how many uniforms or scoreboards would have to be replaced. He also did not know how much it will cost to swap out the logo. Uniforms generally have a six-year life cycle with the district.
The logo is also featured on apparel, in district buildings, on school websites, and on school-run Twitter and Facebook pages.
Okoboji is not the first Iowa high school to draw attention from college powerhouses over copyright concerns. The Waukee School District was pressured by the University of Wisconsin to change its “W” logo in 2006.
University Director of Marketing and Brand Management Matt Dyste said Oregon needs to protect its trademarks but wants to do it in a way that does not harm local school districts. As such, the university is working to find both short-term and long-term ways to phase out the Pioneers' disputed logo.
"We understand uniforms are expensive," he said. "Our goal is not to put them in a tight spot financially. We are not asking them to change everything at once."
Janssen said the district has been using the “O” logo for almost 10 years.
The Oregon “O,” designed by Nike, was first used in 2001. The letter became the school’s official mark in 2003.