Harvard and Yale are the two top universities in the United States.
On many levels the education institutes compete with each other: educationally of course, but also on the football pitch and, now, also in the field of trademarks.
Looking forward to the 2011 Harvard-Yale football game, Yale wanted to print a “funny” t-shirt, saying: “How To Be Successful at Harvard. Step 1: Drop Out”. The text was printed in the style of a Facebook post, supposedly “liked” by ex-Harvard students Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Damon “and 63 others.” Funny, right? Harvard did not think so.
To give Yale some credit: their dean said to contact Harvard first, before printing the t-shirts. But Harvard stated it objected to the use of celebrities’ names in connection with Harvard: “We have a long-standing policy that does not permit the use of Harvard’s trademarks with third-party trademarks or celebrity names.” The Harvard Trademark Program asked that the design be modified before approving it in accordance with the University’s licensing policies.”
The new version of the shirt makes reference to the star Harvard dropouts without giving their names. Instead, it reads: “People who like this also like Social Networks, Personal Computers, and Roads Not Taken.”
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