University of Texas Havoc Trademarks

The hiring of Shaka Smart by the University of Texas may lead to a trademark dispute between UT and Smart's former school Virginia Commonwealth University. Shortly after the hiring of Smart, Texas filed for trademark registrations for "Horns Havoc" and "House of Havoc". However, the term "Havoc" has been associated with VCU's high intensity style of play for at least the last 5 years. It is unclear if VCU ever actually used "Havoc" in connection with actual merchandise or marketing, but reportedly they did at least register for a state trademark registration. Given the limited use of a state registration relative to a federal registration, this was a strange decision by VCU. VCU would likely have to rely on its common law trademark rights for protection of "Havoc" in markets outside of Virginia. In any event, it will be interesting to see how these trademark rights play out.

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