HOUSTON–The University of Houston has requested an interim injunction in the latest step of its legal battle to keep the former South Texas College of Law from changing its name to the Houston College of Law.
The Board of Regents of the University of Houston System said it filed the motion for an interim injunction with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on an emergency basis because “some of defendant’s activities that are a basis of this motion are scheduled to begin in 14 days, on July 27 in Tampa.”
“UH filed this lawsuit to enforce its federal and common-law trademark rights and to stop further confusion among the relevant public concerning affiliation between the two schools,” the injunction motion said.
The University of Houston said in the July 13 emergency motion that it plans to file a comprehensive request for a preliminary injunction soon. Along with the interim injunction motion, the university asked the court to schedule a conference to set a briefing schedule for the to-be-filed preliminary injunction to address whether the parties require discovery and to set an evidentiary hearing date. According to the case docket, an injunction hearing is scheduled Aug. 18.
In addition to the South Texas College of Law name change, which took effect July 1, the University of Houston said the former also changed its school colors to predominantly red and white, the same colors that have been used by the university since 1934.
The University of Houston said it is not trying to prevent South Texas College of Law from using Houston in its name in a non-confusing manner, nor is it trying to keep South Texas from using the phrase College of Law as part of its name. The University of Houston said it would not object to South Texas changing its name to South Texas College of Law at Houston, since that name is less likely to cause confusion. In fact, the University of Houston said the defendant has referred to itself as South Texas College of Law / Houston for years.
Despite the confusion, the University of Houston said South Texas College of Law has announced publicly it will aggressively defend its decision to use the new name and logo and that it will market itself under the new name. However, the university said the new name and logo will harm its reputation and that “a likelihood of confusion is irreparable.”
The University of Houston said its proposed interim injunction would prohibit the defendant from selling or distributing merchandise bearing the “Houston College of Law” name and/or the South Texas College of Law logo, providing any merchandise or other items containing the new name and logo to alumni attending specified receptions at a tour beginning July 27 and issuing diplomas using the Houston College of Law name.