Earlier this week, the Boise State Broncos denied Brevard (N.C.) High School permission to install a blue field. The reason given was that since the high school happens to share the space with a college football program — Division II’s Brevard College — the use of a blue field would violate Boise State’s trademark of being the only* college football program with blue turf.
However, as Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman highlights today, Boise State’s control of the weird-turf market extends beyond just the college ranks. Evidently, according to the school’s director of trademark licensing and enforcement Rachel Bickerton, Boise State has trademarked all non-green turfs at all levels, requiring even elementary schools to apply for a license to use colored turf:
“Since she arrived in 2009, Bickerton has issued licenses for approximately 30 non-green playing surfaces — some retroactively, because they were installed before she came on the job. The licenses are free.
“We didn’t do this to make money,” she said. “We did it to protect our uniqueness.”
Of the licenses issued, 17 have been to elementary or high schools for blue or navy fields. Boise State also has issued licenses to Yale, Massachusetts at Lowell and the University of New England for blue hockey fields — something that has become common since the 2012 Olympics in London used the color.
Boise State’s trademark, Bickerton said, is for any “non-green field” — not just blue. The school issued a license to Eastern Washington for its red field.
“In general, when it’s another color, we do approve it,” she said. “If a big school wants to put an orange field in, because it’s one of our colors, I can’t necessarily say we’d say yes.”
*(As Cripe’s piece points out, the University of New Haven installed a blue field before Boise State received its trademark. While the University of New Haven has a license from Boise State, they are not allowed to market their field as “blue turf.”)
There’s a valuable lesson here. Kids, remember to protect your brand at all costs.
[Source: Idaho Statesman]
Tags: Boise State Broncos