Sport Club Council works to clear confusion with new trademark policy


Willa Colville/Iowa State Daily

Water Ski Club Representative talks on Wednesday evening at the weekly Sport Club Council meeting. At the meeting, clubs discussed the new trademark policy and how it will affect them. 

Willa Colville

After meeting with officials from the University Trademark Licensing Office last week, many members of the Sport Club Council (SCC) felt confused and concerned with the university’s new trademark policy for student organizations.

Based on a three tier system, the new policy limits certain clubs use of trademarked words or images. The issue that sport clubs faced was that while SCC is a sponsored organization and has more leniency when it comes to trademarks, the clubs within SCC are not sponsored. Most of the clubs in SCC fall under the affiliated tier, which requires the use of “at ISU,” “at Iowa State” or “at Iowa State University” after the club name.

Rose Echard, president of the SCC, explained that many clubs were frustrated with the new guidelines. For example, the Triathlon Club has uniforms using trademarks as well as an event named “The CyMan” which will have to be modified.

“It wouldn’t be that big of a deal other than that clubs will have to start replacing uniforms,” said Echard. “It would really make sense for them to change what they are doing because SCC is one of the bigger organizations on campus.”

While the new policy has already been approved and will unlikely change, trademark officials plan to work with student organizations throughout the transition. Landon Wolfe, SCC advisor, met with officials briefly to voice the confusion many clubs faced.

“[Last week] was the first time [the students] had heard any of the new policies. So, there were plenty of questions,” Wolfe said. “I feel lucky that [the trademark officials] have worked with our sport clubs.”

Yesterday Wolfe explained the guidelines to the clubs during the weekly SCC meeting. With the implementation of an SCC patch, clubs will be able to use trademarked images and words for competitive gear.

“Originally it was solely uniforms that were going to be able to use the Sport Club Council mark and then drop the “club” of the end of the name,” said Wolfe. “Some of our sport clubs don’t necessarily have a uniform that it works with, [for example], the ballroom dance club and wrestling robes.”

According to Leesha Zimmerman, Director of Trademark Licensing at Iowa State, SCC clubs will use the patch as a replacement for the word “club.” For example, instead of uniforms saying “Swimming Club at Iowa State,” with the use of the patch, the uniforms can say “Iowa State Swimming.”

Events such as Rodeo Clubs “Cyclone Stampede” will be allowed to keep the trademarked words in their name, as long as it is clear the event is sponsored by SCC.

Zimmerman said that she along with other trademark officials will be meeting with different clubs throughout the month to explain the guidelines and clear any confusion.