Drake University sues community college over “D” logo

July 10, 2024
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Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College are locked in a legal battle over the letter “D.”

The community college rebranded last year, changing its logo to a simple, block-style “D.” Drake, a nearby private university, also uses the letter as its logo and took issue with the shift.

Drake University sued the community college in U.S. District Court on Monday to stop the use of the new logo, The Des Moines Register reported. The suit charges the college with trademark infringement, unfair competition, injury to business reputation and unjust enrichment.

“Drake University simply does not own the letter D,” Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College, told the news outlet.

Drake leaders argue in the complaint that the university has used its single-letter logo since 1902. It contains images pointing out the similarities between the university’s “D” and the community college’s, including photos of Drake’s live bulldog mascot wearing a “D” shirt and a photo of the rapper Drake wearing a Drake University jacket while in Des Moines for a 2016 concert.

The university trademarked its “D”—as well as the university’s seal and colors, blue and light blue, according to the Register. The complaint also claims the community college has started using those colors and a similar seal.

Drake president Marty Martin reportedly met with Denson to discuss the issue in February, and after subsequent meetings between the two institutions, community college leaders agreed to use the “D” logo only alongside “DMACC” for three years. Martin rejected the proposal.

The university is seeking to prevent the community college from selling goods with the new branding and asking that materials with the college’s new logo or seal be disposed of, Iowa Capital Dispatch reported. The lawsuit also calls on the college to “pay over to Drake all profits realized by its wrongful acts.”



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