University of Houston System wins trademark dispute as local law school adopts new name

Nov. 7, 2016 — The University of Houston has prevailed in its federal trademark lawsuit against South Texas College of Law, which briefly changed its name to Houston College of Law earlier this year.   The college announced today it has changed its name once again to satisfy a court order. The 93-year-old private law school is now South Texas College of Law Houston and will feature the color navy in future marketing efforts to distinguish the new name.

The University of Houston System filed the lawsuit after South Texas College of Law changed its name and colors in its ads, logos, and merchandising.  The UH System claimed the new name and color scheme similar to UH's caused confusion among the public and potential students of the UH Law Center.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison granted a motion for preliminary injunction on Oct. 14, finding that there was a strong likelihood that the UH System would prevail in its trademark infringement suit; there was a "strong likelihood of confusion;" as well as "a substantial threat of irreparable injury to UH." South Texas College of Law agreed on Oct. 26 to change its name to avoid going to trial.

"I want to thank our legal team for their advocacy on our behalf including lead counsel Tony Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm and Dona Cornell, UH System vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel," said UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes. "I am very grateful that we have been able to resolve the major issues and we look forward to continuing our focus on legal education."

"There are still some additional details to work out," Buzbee said, "but we are pleased with the name change. We always tried to work with South Texas in a cooperative manner and are glad this case could be resolved."

In addition to Cornell and Buzbee, the University of Houston System was represented by UH in-house counsel Eric Bentley, Mark Yzaguirre, and Jennifer Bloom; Albert B. Deaver, Jr. , Elizabeth King, Bruce Cannon, Bob McAughan, and Jeff Andrews of Sutton McAughan Deaver PLLC; and Jennifer Sickler of Thompson & Knight LLP.

The University of Houston Law Center is ranked 50th in U.S. News and World Report annual survey of the nation's top law schools and its Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs are ranked in the U.S. News Top 10. UHLC has also been ranked a "Best Value" and a "Best Moot Court" law school by preLaw magazine and has been recognized as a "Most Diverse" law school by preLaw magazine and The National Jurist.

For further information, please see http://www.law.uh.edu/.

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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