University of Houston Law Center granted temporary injunction to block renaming of South Texas College of Law 

Federal judge finds change to Houston College of Law would cause confusion and harm to UH Law Center

Oct. 14, 2016 –A federal judge today ruled in favor of the University of Houston Law Center and issued a preliminary injunction preventing the South Texas College of Law from changing its name to Houston College of Law.

UH Law Center sought the injunction after South Texas announced in June that it planned to change its name. UHLC maintains the name change and use of the Law Center’s red and white colors in South Texas’ new branding would cause confusion between the two schools among prospective students and members of the legal community.

In issuing the temporary injunction, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison found there is a strong likelihood that UH Law Center will prevail in its trademark infringement suit; there is a “strong likelihood of confusion;” as well as “a substantial threat of irreparable injury to UH.”

He set a hearing for Wednesday to determine a timetable for South Texas to comply with the injunction and decide whether a bond should be set.

“The university is pleased a federal court recognized the University of Houston’s strong trademarks and its reputation as a top-tier law school,” said Dona Hamilton Cornell, vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel of the UH System. “The University of Houston appreciates the work of its legal team.” 

“Today, the court upheld the University of Houston’s trademark to use exclusively “Houston” in conjunction with providing legal education,” said UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes.   “We have had this exclusive right for almost 70 years. This ruling has confirmed our exclusive right. It was vital to protect the Law Center’s reputation and brand as a top tier law school;  the decision protects students, alumni, faculty, staff and the general public from confusion caused from South Texas’s recent name change.”    

"We are pleased with the court's decision. The evidence showed overwhelmingly that the name change caused confusion in the marketplace," said Tony Buzbee, principal of The Buzbee Law Firm, which is representing UH as lead counsel. "The next step is for South Texas College of Law to remove their billboards, change their website, remove merchandise from stores and change their name in the American Bar Association database. This is a complete victory for the University of Houston and the UH Law Center."

Click here to read the opinion. 

Media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184, cacriado@central.uh.edu; John T. Kling, UH Law Center Communications Manager, 713-743-8298, jtkling@central.uh.edu; Elena Hawthorne, Multimedia Specialist, 713-743-1125, ehawthor@central.uh.edu; and John Brannen, Senior Writer, 713-743-3055, jtbranne@central.uh.edu 

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 42,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center is the leading law school in the nation's fourth-largest city. Founded in 1947, it is a top-tier institution awarding Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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