The University of Houston System has taken South Texas College of Law to Houston federal court as a result of a name change made by the latter.
According to a lawsuit filed June 27 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, STCL recently announced that it was going to be known as “Houston College of Law.”
The suit alleges that the name in question is “strikingly similar to the University of Houston Law Center and all of the various alternate marks associated with that institution.”
The Houston College of Law maintains the new name is to avoid confusion.
"Houston College of Law is making this name change to avoid confusion," said J. Ken Johnson, chairman of the Houston College of Law board of directors. "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."
UH also accuses the defendant of adopting red and white as its primary colors, which the complaint asserts that the plaintiff had been “nationally associated” with for many years.
“STCL’s actions intentionally and willfully infringe upon UH’s intellectual property,” the original petition says.
“STCL’s actions are also violations of the unfair competition laws in the State of Texas. Through this name change and by adopting UH’s color scheme, STCL is attempting to associate itself with the standing and reputation of the University of Houston System and the University of Houston Law Center.”
The plaintiff further alleges that STCL has caused “confusion in the marketplace,” as well as damage.
“Through this suit, UH seeks to protects its hard earned reputation and its well-known brand,” court papers state.
A jury trial is requested.
Attorney Tony G. Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston serves as UH’s lead counsel.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:16-CV-1839