Court Fight Gets Good

See you in court! Houston College of Law replies to UH about name change lawsuit

See you in court! Law school replies to UH about name change lawsuit

new Houston College of Law logo
What's in a name? Courtesy photo

The battle just got more heated.

After the University of Houston filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court Monday, seeking to bar South Texas College of Law from changing its name to Houston College of Law, officials at the downtown law school said they won't back down.

“Houston College of Law teaches its students to represent their clients’ interests aggressively while maintaining strong ethical and professional standards,” J. Ken Johnson, chairman of the Houston College of Law board of directors, said in a statement. “We will do the same in this litigation.”

UH has hired heavyweight trial lawyer and Tony Buzbee as lead counsel. The suit alleges that the name change and its adoption of the UH red and white scheme in its logo constitutes “intentional and willful infringement of UH’s intellectual property and unfair competition,” which results in “confusion in the marketplace and damage” to the university and its brand.

But Houston College of Law officials say they did not adopt new colors or alter the school's website, other than to add the new logo. The use of crimson as a primary color dates back to the 1960s, they maintain.

“Houston College of Law is making this name change to avoid confusion,” Johnson said. “In fact, creating market confusion would be in direct conflict with the mission of our 93-year-old, private, independent law school. For many years we’ve dealt with misunderstanding surrounding ‘South Texas,’ which is not descriptive of our historic location in downtown Houston.”

Furthermore, "the city’s name does not belong to the University of Houston; nor does Houston College of Law intend to market its services in any fashion that suggests affiliation with the University of Houston Law Center," officials said in a press release.

"The board of directors and administrators of Houston College of Law were disappointed that the University of Houston Law Center chose to pursue litigation regarding the law school’s new name. However, Houston College of Law maintains its stance that it is on firm legal ground and is prepared to defend that position in court."

We're betting we haven't heard the end of this.