Have I mentioned how mean-spirited and contemptible the official UNICCO strike blog is is both tone and content? Here’s the latest screed,

With the deadline looming on its 30-day recognition strike, the SEIU has to end its picketing, chanting and tub-thumping today and the few striking workers have to come back to work. Meanwhile, a meeting between all the parties called for by UM President Donna Shalala will convene soon and we expect the message in that gathering will be clear: “Let ‘em vote.” The union really has no alternative except to try and bolster more support among students, but they will soon be departing for summer vacation. It’s over. I feel kind of sorry for the students whose heads have been filled with union mush. But, hey, students and protests used to go hand in hand and it’s actually good to see students seriously engaged in something other than keg parties. And, it’s the last chance they get to stick it to the man before they become the man.

(The “university truth” blog has neither links to individual items, nor does it allow comments, so that link will only take you to a category; look for today’s entry, currently at the top.)

Some colleagues of mine have also noted that the site — especially the main UNICCO page’s link to it — uses colors, type and language in a way meant to evoke the official UM pages. I’m doubtful that this is actually a trademark violation as I think the likelihood of confusion is low; that said there might be an initial interest confusion claim based on this item,

currently found at the UNICCOtruth page with a link to UNICCO’s (not UM’s!) “UniversityTruth” blog.

I mention this not because I think trademark law should be used to stomp UNICCO’s advocacy, and I don’t, but rather because it’s somewhat surprising that UM’s trademark lawyers, normally quite protective of the University’s rights, don’t seem to have sent a cease and desist letter which I would presume would be immediately complied with by UNICCO, whose customer they are. Just something to think about when UM touts its neutrality…

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3 Responses to Contemptible

  1. bricklayer says:

    You are well aware of the yeswecane site:

    (You even created the link for it here!!:

    It uses the cane 1) name 2) colors 3) logo 4) font to promote a pro-union stance. Yet you don’t raise the spectre of IP litigation/threats against them. If you ask me, yeswecane is far more abusively hijacking the University’s IP. It looks more like a UM site than the one you pointed out, and someone could be very easily fooled.

    You haven’t been retained by either side. You work for the school and the students. If in your scholarly opinion (the law school markets you as some kind of tech/IP law guru) the canes are being ripped off, then go after both sides not just the one you happen to politically agree with.

    Why didn’t you notice the IP “borrowing” at yeswecane? Try taking off the rose colored glasses.

  2. Michael says:

    As I said in original post, I don’t think the actual UniverstyTruth site is a trademark violation. And to my eye, the YesweCANE site is even less similar in ‘look and feel’ to the official UM site. So if UT isn’t a trademark violation, then YesweCANE certainly can’t be. The only dubious item is that graphic I reproduced, and AFAIK, there is no comperable graphic produced by the YesWeCANE people…is there?

  3. bricklayer says:

    Putting artistic interpretations aside, I agree with you 100% that at a minimum it is sleazy for either side to cloak themselves with any kind of UM imagery. I also agree that litigation by UM against either side does nothing but make the legal profession look bad. My point is as it pertains to this tactic, using UM imagery, both sides are equally guilty.

    I understand what you are saying about it not being similar to the official UM site, but it incorporates so many UM artistic elements that one assumes it is an official UM site. I see the UM font, the use of the term “canes” which possibly is a registered trademark, and the UM colors. I suppose we see what we want to see, but you can’t dodge the use of the word canes in the domain name and on the web site.

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