Trademark infringement brings on another name change for Summit University

There are 20 Comments

Jonathan Charles's picture

They assumed everything would be alright, so they went ahead with it?  Thousands and thousands of dollars have been spent to rebrand the college, maybe they should have reached out to them first.  I wonder what would be cheaper, rebranding the college again, or offering some kind of financial settlement in order to continue using their new name?  FYI, are two Crown Colleges.  

Jonathan Charles's picture

Did they get the advice of a trademark attorney before they chose a name they knew another college already had?

Andrew K's picture

Given that the name is clearly linked to their location (Clarks Summit, PA), it seems like a silly thing to fuss over. But I admit I don't know how all this stuff works.

M. Osborne's picture

Summit University (of Montana) had already registered their trademark, and they've used it for a long time: http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4804:2lita1.2.4

When you register, you get a presumption of nationwide use. If they weren't registered...perhaps there could be some jockeying back and forth about regional or local differences.

@Jonathan Charles: you asked if they had talked to the trademark attny before the name change. The phrase in the article was that they thought the name was OK "from what advice we had before." It doesn't say where their advice came from; it says that now they do have an attny.

I would hope a trademark attorney would have run the basic name search, and even a logo search, in the US Patent and Trademark Office, before continuing. And to find another university of the exact same name...I would think you'd at least reach out and get some kind of formal permission. Even unintentional trademark infringement against a registered trademark has the potential of the infringer paying damages. Let's hope that the Montana university is simply demanding a cease and desist.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Jonathan Charles's picture

It just seems inept.  Hopefully they can salvage it in some way by tweaking the name or $$$.

Mark_Smith's picture

The first line of the article calls the school the Summit University of Pennsylvania. Did you all see that?

If that is the official name of the school, and assuming that the Montana school does not have Pennsylvania in their name, the problem must be that the school uses the shortened Summit University in its advertising, etc.

Bert Perry's picture

....it's time for Baptist institutions to abandon radical insularity and learn how to be "in but not of" the world?  Yes, there are at least two Crown Colleges, and least two Indiana Universities, and the like, but there are people who want to protect "their brand", as weird as that brand might appear.  

And yeah, the brand is weird.  The wiki link seems to indicate that they're a lot like the new arch-rival to the Colorado Buffaloes, Naropa University.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

T Howard's picture

Quote:
As a member of the school family, we wanted to give you the latest update regarding the university’s name.

Summit University of Pennsylvania has submitted a modified name for approval to the PA Department of Education. The university’s Board of Trustees has voted to apply to adjust the name to “Clarks Summit University.” Pending the Department’s approval of this name, the school will move forward with the name modification process.

This news will soon be released on our website and to media outlets.

While you likely know the name adjustment process is a response to the possibility of legal action, we are pleased to be able to tell you that attorneys from both parties have now worked out an amicable agreement.

We would love to be able to give you a definite timeline for the name switch. However, this will be an extended process as we are dependent on outside organizations regarding timing and approvals. When all the steps are accomplished, we plan to assume the modified name later this year. Along with the name change, other items, such as our website URL, will be updated.

When choosing our new name last year, we loved the analogy of looking out from the mountaintop summit, reflecting our geographic location. This modified name accomplishes the same goal. We are proud to call the communities of South Abington, Clarks Green and Clarks Summit home. Now the name will point to this location more specifically.

The name will be modified; however, our mission and doctrine will remain the same as it has since its inception in 1932. Together, we will remain dedicated to preparing men and women for lives of significant service for the cause of Jesus Christ in a variety of ministries and careers worldwide.

Please feel free to reach out to us with questions by emailing communications@SummitU.edu.

Thank you for your continued prayers during this time.

James R. Lytle, D.Min.
President

TylerR's picture

Editor

I can't believe this is even necessary. An ridiculous, costly and extremely embarrassing oversight on somebody's part at BBC&S. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's certainly not a "scandal." But, it is pretty embarrassing, it will be a costly mistake, and it does makes them look foolish. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

TylerR wrote:

It's certainly not a "scandal." But, it is pretty embarrassing, it will be a costly mistake, and it does makes them look foolish. 

My seminary tuition dollars at work.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I just hope they can get past this madness without suffering any long-term consequences. We need good fundamentalist schools. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Steve Picray's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Yes, there are at least two Crown Colleges, and least two Indiana Universities...

Two Indiana Universities?  Do tell.  I only know of the one university (based in Bloomington), of which there are several satellite campuses (Indianapolis, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Richmond, Gary, and New Albany).  

Jim's picture

Steve Picray wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

Yes, there are at least two Crown Colleges, and least two Indiana Universities...

 

Two Indiana Universities?  Do tell.  I only know of the one university (based in Bloomington), of which there are several satellite campuses (Indianapolis, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Richmond, Gary, and New Albany).  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_University_of_Pennsylvania

Steve Picray's picture

Ok, that's just bizarre.