UH System Wins Trademark Dispute as Local Law School Adopts New Name

Sutton McAughan Deaver PLLC brought a win to the University of Houston, protecting the University's trademarks against infringement by South Texas College of Law. A press release issued by the University of Houston is reproduced below:

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 merchandizing.  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 and Jennifer Bloom;  Al Deaver, 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.