University of Houston preliminary injunction granted in trademark battle with ‘Houston College of Law’

By David Yates | Oct 14, 2016

HOUSTON – A federal judge has granted the University of Houston’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a trademark case brought after South Texas College of Law changed its name to the Houston College of Law.

On Oct. 14, nearly two months following a hearing on the matter, U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison issued a memorandum opinion setting out findings of fact and conclusions of law.

South Texas College of Law had argued the word “Houston” is not the property of the UH System.

Conversely, UH argued the name change created confusion of affiliation between the two schools.

In its amended complaint, UH argued the defendant’s actions intentionally and willfully infringed upon the university’s intellectual property and were also violations of the unfair competition laws in the state of Texas.

The court concluded that:

- There is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of UH’s trademark infringement claim under the Lanham Act: at least two of UH’s marks,

“University of Houston” and “University of Houston Law Center,” are eligible for protection; UH is the senior user of these marks; and there is a likelihood of confusion between UH’s marks (both individually and collectively) and Defendant’s use of “Houston College of Law;”

- There is a substantial threat of irreparable injury to UH without adequate legal remedy if the injunction does not issue;

- UH’s threatened injury if the court were to deny the injunction outweighs the harm to the defendant should the injunction issue; and

- The injunction will not disserve the public interest.

Attorney Tony G. Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston serves as UH’s lead counsel.

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