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Friday, February 17, 2017

Iowa State violated First Amendment by barring pro-marijuana student group from printing T-shirts with ISU logo (plus cannabis leaf)

From today’s 8th Circuit decision in Gerlich v. Leath:

Iowa State University (ISU) grants student organizations permission to use its trademarks if certain conditions are met. The ISU student chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML ISU) had several of its trademark licensing requests denied because its designs included a cannabis leaf. …

ISU … [has] approximately 800 officially recognized student organizations. Student groups often create merchandise that contains the group’s name and ISU insignia to generate awareness about the group’s cause or attract members. Student groups may use ISU’s trademarks on merchandise if ISU’s Trademark Licensing Office (Trademark Office) determines that the use complies with ISU’s Guidelines for University Trademark Use by Student and Campus Organizations (Trademark Guidelines). ISU’s trademarks include word marks like “ISU” and “Iowa State,” as well as logos, such as the school’s mascot (Cy the Cardinal).

NORML ISU at first got permission from the Trademark Office to use a T-shirt “that had ‘NORML ISU’ on the front with the ‘O’ represented by Cy the Cardinal,” with “Freedom is NORML at ISU” and a cannabis leaf depicted on the back. But after a Des Moines Register article mentioned the T-shirt, a state legislator and someone at the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy heard about this and objected, and the University barred NORML ISU from printing further T-shirts with the design. After that, the University’s Trademark Guidelines were changed to ban “designs that suggest promotion of the below listed items … dangerous, illegal or unhealthy products, actions or behaviors; … [or] drugs and drug paraphernalia that are illegal or unhealthful.”



Anonymous said...

If they're prohibiting the use of the logo for all dangerous activities, then so much for every contact sport on campus.

Anonymous said...

There's no first amendment right to illegally use a trademarked logo.

Anonymous said...

Judicial system is out of control - it is copyright infringement plain and simple - courts have lots of liberals trying pushing liberal agenda.

Anonymous said...

If they appeal, they prevail. Part of having a trademark is duty to protect it lest it fall into the public domain. Or that it lose its value by being associated with unsavory activities. They met that test by revising and denying use that would lower value of the trademark asset.

By the same logic, they'd have to approve a group wanting to give cigarettes to elementary students, or a group advocating drinking and driving, etc.

Anonymous said...

I need my safe pace oh God.I'm putting on my pu88y hat and crying in my closet until this all goes away. Please, God, make it go away!