Licensing company: No new Sioux logo, nickname merchandise designs after Sept. 30
The trademark company that manages much of the licensing of UND's Fighting Sioux logo and nickname has advised manufacturers and retail vendors of jerseys, coffee mugs and all things Sioux that no new designs bearing the logo or nickname will be ...
The trademark company that manages much of the licensing of UND's Fighting Sioux logo and nickname has advised manufacturers and retail vendors of jerseys, coffee mugs and all things Sioux that no new designs bearing the logo or nickname will be approved after Sept. 30.
After the State Board of Higher Education directed UND in April to begin the transition away from the beleaguered symbols, UND and the Licensing Resource Group (LRG) of Holland, Mich., began developing a timeline for their retirement.
First step: On July 1, the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname will be removed from a trademark artwork website. Vendors now holding "Sioux head" and standard UND licenses will be renewed for a year, but no new "Sioux head" licenses will be issued.
The one-year renewals for existing license holders fit with UND's announced plan, subsequently approved by the state board, to extend the transition to Aug. 25, 2011. Because of licensing and contractual obligations, UND President Robert Kelley told the University Senate earlier this month, "We will use the Fighting Sioux name and logo through the coming year" in a gradual transition.
According to the timeline shared this week with vendors, no new designs bearing the nickname or logo will be approved after Oct. 1.
The timeline was provided to vendors Wednesday.
"We wanted to take into consideration the vendors' buying and selling schedules," said Joe Sheeley, regional brand manager for LRG.
"We've had an idea of how this should work for some time -- what we would need to do if the logo was retired," he said. "Once the state board acted, we were able to start the timeline.
"We had a lot of conversations with people Tuesday, including conversations with just about everybody selling in Grand Forks."
LRG handles product licensing for 160 mostly collegiate clients, including in this region North Dakota State University, Bemidji State University and the universities of South Dakota and Iowa.
The Fighting Sioux logo "has been a very good seller," Sheeley said.
According to the timeline, all Fighting Sioux-branded merchandise must be off retail floors by July 1, 2011, unless authorized by the university. For the following two weeks, representatives of UND and LRG will visit retailers in the region "to ensure no Fighting Sioux merchandise is being sold at retail," according to the transition memo. "Any merchandise found would be subject to confiscation."
At the May 6 University Senate meeting, Kelley announced that a "task group" would "plan and implement the process of honoring the history and traditions of the Sioux name and logo," and another will "reach out to students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends -- all our constituencies."
A third group had not yet been activated, he said. If the "new directions task group" is activated, it "will help us think through the process of selecting a new name and logo for the university," he said.
"For the immediate future," Kelley said, he will recommend "that UND simply use its name -- the University of North Dakota -- and that our athletic and academic teams use the term 'North Dakota' or the interlocked ND as an outward identity for activities that require such designation."
The timeline sent to vendors Wednesday does anticipate the possible "limited edition use" of the Fighting Sioux name and logo after June 30, 2011.
"In order to capitalize on special events, milestones and historic opportunities, the university does intend to protect the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname," the memo states, "and may consider limited usage as deemed appropriate by the situation and university officials.
"Any program created for these purposes would be run on a limited basis with select licensees, retailers and suppliers and controlled by the university."
Another possible exception contemplated for the timeline: If the UND hockey team (or any other winter or spring sport) were to win a national championship during the 2010-2011 season, UND "may adopt a policy allowing 'new' national championship designs to be considered, with the last date of sale potentially extended past the June 30, 2011 deadline."
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