Friday, March 16, 2007

irish vs irish

i suppose if notre dame wants to be a dick about enforcing its copyright to the fightin' irish leprechaun logo, fine... but why do it days before st patrick's day? that's just un-irish-like.

Parents and coaches at Cathedral High School have been told they must stop using the leprechaun logo.

According to an e-mail to parents, officials at Notre Dame University are taking a strict line on enforcing their copyright of the leprechaun.

The e-mail said Cathedral officials did not like the decision, but flaunting it could land the school in court.

The nearly 90-year-old Catholic school at Emerson and 56th streets has the same blue and gold school colors as Notre Dame and, like Notre Dame's, school teams are known as the "Irish."

in the star's talkback comments, several commenters are suggesting that notre dame is wrong to tell cathedral to stop using the logo, arguing that notre dame actually appropriated the leprechaun and the name "fightin' irish" from cathedral. and they might have a point, if this was a real 2005 indy star story:

The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish . . . Terriers?
The small, curly-haired dog might be one of the most recognizable images in sports -- instead of the brawling leprechaun -- if it weren't for Cathedral High School.

While many high school athletic programs adopt logos or nicknames from colleges, it is possible Notre Dame borrowed its nickname from the Indianapolis school.

The schools were closely linked in the 1920s and '30s as the Brothers of Holy Cross provided the facility and staff for both institutions. Cathedral has traced its use of Fighting Irish to 1920. Notre Dame used an Irish terrier for its symbol and the nicknames Catholics during the 19th century and Ramblers in the early 1920s, according to the school's Web site.

"(The Fighting Irish) started at Cathedral," said Chris Kaufman, Cathedral's director of marketing and communications. "The brothers, being at both schools, carried the idea to Notre Dame."

unfortunately, even if this is true, it wouldn't help cathedral in this case. as the 2005 story concludes:

Cathedral has used a leprechaun as its logo since its inception, but Notre Dame developed the current well-known version, named it the school's official mascot in 1965 and trademarked it. Cathedral uses the logo for decorative purposes -- it also wears similar football uniforms to Notre Dame with dark blue jerseys and gold helmets -- but can't sell any merchandise with the leprechaun.

at issue here is the 1965 ted drake design. regardless of whether notre dame has the moral or artistic right to prevent its once-sister school from using the logo, notre dame does own the trademark and legally can urinate in the face of anyone who uses it without ND's permission. still, it seems like a rotten thing to do to your fellow irishmen mere days before st paddy's. at least let the cathedral alums get their green beer on before hitting 'em with the bad news.

(full disclosure: i went to cathedral, and marketing director chris kaufman was in my class.)

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

well now pretty glad I didn't pick ND to win anything in the NCAA pool...geez I mean it is not like it is some off the track schmo using the little green guy...they started the school